Will Smith set a franchise record in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night by driving in four runs to give him 19 RBI in his first 14 career Major League games, breaking Cody Bellinger’s record of 17 set in 2017.
That mark is also the fourth-most in Major League history, only behind 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 had a flair for the dramatics in his short time with the Dodgers. He came into the series opener against the Padres with five career home runs and three of them being of the go-ahead variety in the ninth inning. That set an MLB record for most in the Modern Era (since 1900).
Smith’s grand slam one came in the sixth inning, but it still gave the Dodgers a lead after they were largely held in check by Joey Lucchesi.
The decision for the Dodgers to make Smith their primary catcher was not an easy one, as they gave Austin Barnes several weeks to right the ship. But so far, Smith is proving that it was certainly the correct one.
He finished Thursday night with an .884 slugging percentage, which is the highest for a National League player in their first 14 career games (minimum 45 plate appearances) since the San Francisco Giants’ Willie McCovey in 1959 (.885), per STATS LLC.
Smith has also added 20 home runs in 61 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, so he is having a strong overall year.
It may be too late for Smith to insert his name into the NL Rookie of the Year discussion, but what he has done has been nothing short of remarkable. The Dodgers have had a number of productive and talented rookies the last handful of years, and he looks to be the next great one as the future in Los Angeles continues to look extremely bright.