Rookie Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith has already developed a knack for late-inning heroics during his short time in the big leagues. He additionally has become an everyday star as the starting catcher for the Triple-A Oklahoma City.
And along with veteran relief pitcher Kevin Quackenbush, Smith was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, which will compete against the International League team in the 32nd annual Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday.
The game will take place in El Paso, Texas, hosted by the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT.
In 51 games with OKC, Smith is batting .291/.397/.604 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 40 RBI. Smith recently returned from an oblique injury that had him on the Major League disabled list.
Smith’s production at the plate with OKC and the Dodgers marks a stunning turnaround, which was considered the weakest aspect of his game coming into 2019.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman even went as far to say in Spring Training that Smith’s bat was the only thing keeping him from being ready for Major League action. During his nine games over two stints with the Dodgers thus far, though, Smith has already hit three home runs — two of which were of the walk-off variety.
Between joining the Dodgers, Smith had a stretch in Oklahoma City where he hit a home run in five straight games from June 12-17.
Despite his success in the Majors, the Dodgers remain insistent on keeping Smith at the Triple-A level so he can receive consistent at-bats instead of residing as a third-string catcher behind veterans Austin Barnes and Russell Martin.
This is Smith’s second All-Star nod as a professional, having also been named a California League All-Star in 2017 while with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Quackenbush signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers in November 2018. He spent 2014-17 as a Padres reliever and appeared in 10 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season.
Over 203 career MLB games, Quackenbush has a 4.39 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
In 35 appearances with the OKC Dodgers in 2019, Quackenbush is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to go along with 61 strikeouts against just nine walks.
Quackenbush previously participated in the Triple-A All-Star Game in 2018. That time, he represented the Reds’ Louisville Bats on the International League All-Star team.