Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Will Smith continued his ascension into one of the best catchers in baseball this past season as he thrived on both sides of the ball for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 26-year-old hit a solid .258/.365/.495 in 130 games, posting career highs in doubles (19), triples (two), home runs (25) and RBI (76). He also performed well in the postseason, going 11-for-44 with two doubles, three home runs and four RBI across three series.
Since making his MLB debut in 2019, Smith has developed a reputation for coming through in the clutch. That was no different this year as he hit game-winning home runs against the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets in a one-month span.
When asked to explain his success in big moments, Smith revealed during a recent appearance on the “Unfinished with Anderson Miller” podcast that he isn’t afraid to fail and treats every at-bat the same:
“I think in those bigger moments, later in games, the game definitely speeds up for a lot of people. It speeds up for me sometimes. I’ll be calling a game and it’s like, ‘Shoot, what do we need to do? What do we need to do? Let’s call this.’ It works out sometimes, it doesn’t always work out. That’s going to hold true for pretty much anybody — pitcher, hitter, catcher, outfielder, whatever. You try to do too much, or try to do too little. But I think to have success more often in those situations — because you’re going to fail.
“One, I think realizing you’re going to fail in those situations and being OK with it. Two, just having confidence. You’re first at-bat of the game is the same as bottom of the ninth, two outs, tie game, man on second. Same intensity, not trying to do too much, not trying to hit a homer. Just make good contact, or whatever it is. I’ve had success in those situations, so those come up, I’ve got a lot of confidence.”
Smith’s ability to deliver in the clutch was immediately recognized during his rookie season when two of his first three home runs came in walk-off fashion.
“I like them,” Smith said of high-pressure situations this past August. “I’ve had success late in games, so yeah, I feel confident. I feel like I know what I’m doing, stick to my plan and I’m able to execute in those situations.
“You’re not always successful, and when you are it’s pretty enjoyable and a lot of fun.”
Smith ignores praise & criticism
In addition to staying confident at the plate, Smith credited his success to surrounding himself with people who spread positivity, and not putting too much stock into any praise and criticism he may receive on social media.
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