There are few Dodgers right now that feel better-suited to take the plate in a high-leverage situation than Will Smith. He’s known for smacking home runs right when the team needs one (he’s got 22 so far this season) and leads MLB in the catcher spot for WAR at 4.4. He’s hit more home runs in clutch situations than anyone else on the team this year, so much so that his nickname has become Captain Clutch.
What’s with his success at the plate? Not what you’d expect, as Ben Clemens investigates over at FanGraphs. He’s not pounding a ton of balls and he’s just okay in the strike zone — maybe even a little worse than average. But his ability to take good swings outside the zone and not chase are working for him:
Want to know why Smith runs an admirable walk rate and miniscule swinging-strike rate despite middle-of-the-pack contact skills in the strike zone? He never meets pitchers on their own terms.
- Are the Dodgers fully “back” at full strength? Fabian Adaya at The Athletic writes not quite, but they’re close
- An update on the possible future of Trevor Bauer by Jeff Passan at ESPN
- Dodgers pitching prospect Bobby Miller was profiled by Michael Huang at MLB.com
- Are pitchers to blame for sluggish game times? Robert Arthur at Baseball Prospectus has some thoughts