Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Will Smith just completed his third season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and despite being only 26 years old, has already emerged as one of the league’s best all-around catchers.
His continued improvement earned him recognition from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who ranked Smith among the top 10 players at his position for the 2022 season. Olney amassed his annual list by receiving input from evaluators and others around baseball.
Smith was ranked No. 4 on the list, which is behind Yasmani Grandal of the Chicago White Sox (No. 1), J.T. Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies and Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.
Following Smith are Mike Zunino of the Tampa Bay Rays, Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs, Jacob Stallings of the Miami Marlins, Sean Murphy of the Oakland Athletics, Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Omar Narvaez of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Smith hit a solid .258/.365/.495 over 130 games last season, 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.
On the defensive side, Smith threw out 25% of would-be base stealers and committed just six errors in 1,004.2 innings behind the plate. He also ranked in the 66th percentile in pitch framing.
Since making his MLB debut in May 2019, Smith is first in wRC+ (135) and wOBA (.373), second in on-base percentage (.365) and slugging (.527), and fourth in batting average (.262) and home runs (48) among catchers with at least 800 plate appearances.
Smith ignores praise, criticism
Despite being a young player, Smith has already proven capable of not being affected by criticism or praise. Instead, his focus is on maintaining the same approach and confidence regardless of recent success or struggles.
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