Things weren’t going well early on for Will Smith at the plate in 2020. Through his first 16 games of the year, Smith was hitting only .184. Although he was struggling to get hits, his on-base percentage was still nearly .400 and he had an OPS of above .800.
Though his average was low, Smith was constantly making hard contact with the ball and getting robbed of what should have been numerous hits. He didn’t let that distract him or let it change his approach, as he’s turned into LA’s best hitter during the second half of the season. Over his last 13 games, Smith is hitting .405 with an OPS of above 1.300. He has nine extra base hits and has walked 10 times. His on-base percentage during this stretch is over .500.
“It feels good to see the average climbing up and numbers creeping up,” Smith said to reporters following the game. “I’ve stuck to my process and my approach the whole year. I haven’t lost many at bats. I’ve stuck with it. It’s nice to see a couple soft hits fall. It feels good.”
As I mentioned earlier, Smith was getting robbed on numerous hits. Now, everything seems to be falling his way. Manager Dave Roberts has noticed too, as he’s moved Smith up in the lineup from the No. 9 spot to as high as the No. 5 spot, where he hit on Sunday night.
“He’s shown me enough of consistency with the at bat quality,” Roberts said. “The simplified approach, the plan, the mechanics. He hits to all fields, hits right and left. He’s earned it. As we look to finish the season, performance and my trust in players will matter. Will is taking every at bat and making it a good at bat. He’s earned this opportunity to hit in the middle of the order.”
About a week ago, Roberts said that Smith has had the most consistent all bats all season along with Mookie Betts. Not too bad of a compliment if you ask me.
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