When I sat down to write this article my first thought was “should the first slide be about Keibert Ruiz?” A young catching prospect both sought after in the trade market and in a Dodger uniform and a player that just about everyone knows
Quite frankly, Keibert would have been the easy pick here. There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on him but at the same time, you already knew that. So, I went with his counterpart, Will Smith.
Not only is Smith creeping his way toward a top-100 prospect spot, but he is also the Dodgers closest catching prospect to the major leagues and he can play multiple positions.
Defensively I have always compared Will Smith to Austin Barnes. He is a catcher by trade and he has been one since college. But, Smith has the ability to move to third base and second base, playing both those spots fairly confidently. Former High-A manager Drew Saylor once told me that, “Smith is special on defense because he plays three positions like they are all his primary spot.”
Offensively, Smith brings a nice mix of power and contact. Last season between two levels, Smith smacked 20 home runs (19 in Double-A and 1 in Triple-A) but his batting average was less impressive at .233.
The reason I would watch Smith right now is that he should, barring any setbacks, open the season in Triple-A with the ability to make his debut in 2019. The Dodgers’ current major league catching duo of Austin Barnes and Russell Martin is not enough to hold Smith down should he be ready early in the season.