Will Smith continued to be a spark plug for the Los Angeles Dodgers as he combined with Corey Seager for back-to-back home runs during the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins.
In process, Smith broke yet another Cody Bellinger franchise record as he now has 24 RBI in his first 23 games with the Dodgers. Smith’s eight home runs were tied with Bellinger’s 2017 record for most during that span. He took hold of that record with a home run in the sixth inning.
Earlier this season, the rookie catcher surpassed his teammate with 19 RBI in his first 14 career Major League games, breaking Bellinger’s record of 17. That was also the fourth-most in MLB history, trailing Jim Greengrass of the Cincinnati Reds in 1952 (21), Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves in 2019 (20) and Mandy Brooks of the Chicago Cubs in 1925 (20).
Smith has been nothing short of remarkable since making his MLB debut in late May. Along with his steady production, the 24-year-old has shown a flair for the dramatic.
Smith previously set an MLB record during the Modern Era (since 1900) with three of his first five career home runs being go-ahead shots in the ninth inning. He already can lay claim to two walk-off home runs.
The ability to keep a calm presence about him in those clutch moments led to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts drawing a parallel with Yasiel Puig. “I am cautious to make this comparison, but Puig was like this when he came up,” Roberts said earlier this month.
“That’s the only time I’ll compare Will Smith and Yasiel Puig. When he comes up, guys want to watch him. That expectation and anticipation when he steps up, and then the delivery. It’s good to see.”
After separate stints of sharing time behind the plate, Smith was anointed the Dodgers’ primary catcher upon joining the club in July. His latest promotion coincided with Austin Barnes being demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City amid a prolonged slump.
In addition to what they have received from Smith at the plate, the Dodgers have raved about his receiving and overall defensive ability as well. Of course, some of that was to be expected, as president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman touted him as already being Gold-Glove caliber back in Spring Training.