Will Smith Anticipating ‘Better Results’ Amid Ongoing Work With Dodgers Hitting Coaches

Will Smith has been a staple in the middle of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup since he broke into the league back in 2019. Slumps are few and far between, but his bat has been quieter since the All-Star break in what’s been a prolonged drought.

For most players, batting .259/.250/.370 over seven games is a normal week. But for Smith, his struggles have been magnified when following fellow All-Star teammates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman in the lineup.

Overall this season, Smith is hitting .274/.371/.464, putting his on-base plus slugging percentage at .835, which leads all Major League catchers. Second on the list is Baltimore Orioles rookie Adley Rutschman, who is 36 points lower with a .799 OPS. Smith’s 129 wRC+ also ranks first among all catchers.

While the Dodgers lost their series opener to the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night, Smith hit a two-run home run off former teammate Noah Syndergaard.

Smith credited his ongoing work with Dodgers hitting coaches for recent improvement and believes that will ultimately pay off longterm, via SportsNet LA

“I think I’ve had good at-bats the last four, five or six games. The swing is in a much better spot. I was really grinding in the cage with the hitting coaches, so I’ve started swinging better and I should get better results. Baseball is a game where you can’t guarantee results with the work you put in, but just go out every day, try to stick to your approach and put together good at-bats.”

Even with some of the lulls Smith has experienced, his patience at the plate is as high as it’s ever been. He’s sporting a 12.2% walk rate and will almost certainly end the year with the most walks he has ever posted in a season. His slugging is a bit down from his career average, but the rest of his numbers are comparable.

Smith enters play Wednesday with 52 walks, which are six from tying his career high set in 2021. He fell just short with 56 walks last season.

Will Smith barrel rate

Smith’s only statistic that is vastly lower than his career average is barrel percentage, with 6.7% being the lowest of any season thus far.

Smith’s maximum exit velocity is 110.8 mph, the highest of his career. His hard-hit percentage is currently 40.1%, down from a career average of 42.4%. It is simply that Smith is missing more pitches than he usually does, and barreling fewer as well.

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