Finding a good quality catcher that could be a staple in a team’s lineup is hard to come by. Just look at today where teams are paying top dollar to find a solution at the premium position. James McCann just signed a four-year deal worth $40 million-plus and JT Realmuto is searching for a deal worth north of $100 million. The Dodgers are in a great position where they shouldn’t have to worry about searching for their next catcher for years.
Bleacher Report recently ranked who they predict will be the best 25 catchers in the year 2025. To no surprise, two Dodgers have cracked that list and were even placed within the top-10. Alright before you ask, no the great Austin Barnes did not make the cut. Instead, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz are the future of the catcher position.
Will Smith: Rank: 2, 2025 Age: 30
Since debuting with the Dodgers in 2019, Smith has cemented himself as the team’s primary catcher. In 91 career games, the 25-year old has batted .268 with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs. There’s no doubt that Smith is already one of the game’s top offensive catchers to start his young career. Just look a this year’s playoff run. Despite only hitting a combined .203 overall, he was still productive enough to drive in 13 runs while swatting two home runs, including a crucial go-ahead home run against himself to save the Dodgers’ season.
Will the real Will Smith please stand up? pic.twitter.com/U6hlPhSxmy
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2020
Though many believe that Smith could still work on his receiving skills, he’s athletic enough to stick at the position or even shift out of it if need be. In the Minors, he played 58 games at third and 12 games at second. He has the ability to be used like Austin Barnes later on, but with more offensive upside. The new Fresh Prince is here to stay as the Dodgers catcher.
Keibert Ruiz: Rank: 8, 2025 Age: 26
The name Keibert Ruiz has been around for years as teams have been trying to claw him away from the Dodgers with no success. However, the young catcher just made his Major League debut this season. Fans might remember his memorable first at-bat in which he homered off of the Angels’ starter Julio Teheran. How could you forget that?
First Major League at-bat, first homer for Keibert Ruiz. 💥 pic.twitter.com/TOrD55YNC7
— MLB (@MLB) August 16, 2020
While his stay at the big league level only lasted two games, it gave Dodger fans a lot to be excited about. By late next year, we may see Ruiz back up in Dodger Blue. That’s if he isn’t used to upgrade the team’s needs before then. With Will Smith cemented at the position, for now, Ruiz may be expendable, especially when you add in the high demand for catchers today.
Top Prospect on the Way
While those two will be established big leaguers by the time 2025 rolls around, the Dodgers will have yet another top catching prospect ready to burst on the scene. Diego Cartaya may not be a name that many fans have heard of, but just you wait. The 19-year old is ranked as the organization’s 5th prospect and should move up on the rankings in the years to come. He has the potential to be even better than Ruiz which could ease his loss if traded. No matter what happens between now and then, the Dodgers are set at the position for the next decade-plus.