When discussing the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organizational depth at the catcher position, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman touted prospect Will Smith as already being capable of winning a Gold Glove Award.
Friedman further noted the bulk of Smith’s development was required with the bat. His comments were hardly an indictment or criticism of the 24-year-old who was selected in the first round (No. 32 overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft.
With Austin Barnes landing on the 10-day injured list last week with a strained groin, Smith was called up for the first time in his career. He’s quickly been thrown into the fire, and on Saturday produced a remarkable highlight by hitting a walk-off home run.
The homer was Smith’s first and his first RBI. Furthermore, the game-winning hit was not only another first for Smith in the Majors but his life as well, and he naturally won’t be forgetting it, via SportsNet LA:
“That was awesome. I mean, it was the first walk-off I’ve ever had, first home run in the big leagues. Couldn’t have asked for a bigger stage or bigger moment. I’ll remember that forever.”
Although this is his first time on a Major League roster, he was with the Dodgers late last season to get a glimpse into the environment and preparation inside a Major League clubhouse.
Saturday’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies was the fourth Smith has made since receiving his first call-up. He quickly began to make a name for himself, collecting a hit in his first at-bat and also throwing out one baserunner in each of his first two games.
For all the contributions Smith has made in a short time, he may be poised to return to Triple-A Oklahoma City within the next few days when Barnes is eligible to be activated. Should that be the case, it stands to reason Smith will join the club once active rosters expand in September.