Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have five players headed to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Mookie Betts and Trea Turner all receiving the nod. That left them with two notable omissions in Freddie Freeman and Will Smith.
Both players have been on a recent tear at the plate, and manger Dave Roberts has long hoped Smith would be to on the National League roster.
However, being snubbed from the All-Star team for the second consecutive season has not slowed down the fourth-year catcher since rosters were announced.
“No. I don’t think it was that,” Smith bluntly answered when asked if his recent hot stretch was fueled by motivation from being an All-Star Game snub.
“I try to go out there every day with the same attitude, same mindset. That’s what I’ve been doing. … I’ve never been the high prospect or high whatever. I don’t really have a chip on my shoulder. I just go out every day, compete, have fun and try to help the team win.”
Up until Saturday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels, Smith had an eight-game hitting streak and at least one RBI in seven straight.
Smith is on track to post career highs in home runs, RBI, walks, hits and extra-base hits. He remains one of the toughest hitters in all of baseball to strike out, evident by his 98th percentile chase rate.
Roberts has expressed his support for Smith and ascension to an elite-level player who is feared by opposing teams when at the plate.
Making the case for Will Smith in the All-Star Game
The leading vote-getter for NL starting catcher was Chicago Cubs’ Wilson Contreras, who by all accounts is having a fantastic season.
Smith has posted 142 wRC+ over the course of the season and is only one of four catchers to qualify in plate appearances in 2022. Atlanta Braves backstop Travis d’Arnaud, on the other hand, hasn’t put up nearly the same production.
d’Arnaud has posted a 114 wRC+ and his 4.3% walk rate, coupled with a 20.1% strikeout rate have contributed to the gap in overall impact.
Smith has produced more while on the field and was simply snubbed by both the fans and players.
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