Prospects in big-league camp are no new occurrence. It happens every year. But, rarely does a team’s future catching duo play in the same big league camp for media and fans to observe at the same time. Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz are giving Dodger fans that chance.
We’ve talked about Ruiz in these articles. Earlier this week Dave Roberts said he was probably not going to see any big league action in 2019. Reason being the Dodgers want to take their time with the 20-year-old catcher.
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For Smith though, the story is not quite the same. Roberts initially said that Smith is not ready for the majors. He said his offense needs some refining and there is no disagreeing with that. In his 87 Triple-A at-bats, Smith his just .138.
Roberts’ desires for improvement stopped there.
The Dodger manager followed up those comments with “Smith could win an MLB Gold Glove right now.” Again, there is no disagreeing with it.
Smith’s primary position is obviously catcher. He was taken in the first round out of Louisville by the Dodgers with the full intention of playing him behind the plate. But, when the Dodgers started to employ more versatility on their big league roster, Smith began to work on his.
Starting with the High-A Quakes, Smith saw time at catcher, second base and even third. The top catching prospect known only for his work behind the plate became usable in other positions and promoting him became much easier.
The news that Roberts is raving about Smith’s defense is important. It is one less step that needs to be met before the 23-year-old will get called up.