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The Curious Case of Will Smith

What to do with Will Smith?  It has been reported that Smith broke a rib on a HBP thrown by St. Louis Cardinals RHSP, Jake Woodford, on April 30.  It has also been reported that Smith needed to adjust his swing to compensate for the pain.

Smith had a fantastic May batting .318/.434/.529/.963, 5 HR, 18 BB, 10 K

Since May:

  • June – .230/.380/.446/.832, 4 HR, 15 BB, 20 K
  • July – .269/.341/.385/.726, 1 HR, 7 BB, 15 K
  • August – .255/.296/.418/.714, 4 HR, 6 BB, 23 K
  • September – .197/.324/.311/.635, 1 HR, 8 BB, 12 K

Since the All Star Break – 214 PA, 213 AB, .244/.318/.380/.699, 5 HR, 18 BB, 46 K

Since August – 182 PA, 159 PA, .233/.308/.377/.685, 5 HR, 14 BB, 35 K

Smith has been struggling since the All Star Break.  Doc and Smith both say it is not the injury, he is not tired, just bad mechanics and bad habits he got into after the rib fracture.  He is in the cages working with the coaches to try and get back those mechanics that earned Smith the All Star invite.

Before the ASB, Smith was hitting a robust .279/.396/.494/.889, 13 HR, 44 BB, 35 K.

His power has diminished considerably and his plate discipline, bat speed, or whatever, has caused his BB/K ratio to go from 44 BB/35 K to 18 BB/46K.  And still the Dodgers are scoring a lot of runs.  But that has more to do with Betts/Freeman/Muncy/JDM who surround Smith.

And what if he does find that stroke again?  His playoff numbers are not top shelf.

  • In 160 PA,142 AB, .204/.288/.366/.654, 5 HR, 17 BB, 39 K.

Austin Barnes has been much maligned, and mostly deservedly so (this year).  But:

Since the ASB – 77 PA, 70 AB, .257/.303/.371/.674, 2 HR, 4 BB, 14 K

Since August – 60 PA, 54 AB, .278/.322/.426/.748, 2 HR, 4 BB, 11 K

Barnes playoff metrics are not good either.

  • 120 PA, 106 AB, .208/.280/.292/.572, 2 HR, 10 BB, 32 K

No, I am not advocating Barnes be the primary catcher, but there is something wrong with Smith.  Will more time off help?  If not tired and no pain, I do not see why he would need it.  But maybe Barnes should get 3-4 of the final 8 games instead of just 1-2.  Smith figures to start every game in the NLDS.

Regardless as to what happens in the final 8 games, can the Dodgers really trust Smith in the #3 hole?  I am going with yes.  That is where he has batted all year, and that is where he is most comfortable.

What I will also be watching for over the last 9 games:

  • Kershaw in his final start of 2023 in SF. Final regular season start in his career?


  • Does Ryan Pepiot force AF/Doc to put him in the playoff rotation? He is tentatively pegged to start one of the DH games in Colorado on Tuesday.  I say yes.


  • Does Lance Lynn use the new strategy for him – Go as hard as you can for as long as you can. Do not hold back to try and go deeper in the games.  He should have 2 starts remaining.  Will he solidify his spot in the rotation?


  • Will Bobby Miller continue to show he is a Game 1 or Game 2 starter? He should get 1 more start in the regular season.


  • Will Emmet Sheehan earn a spot on the postseason roster as a reliever? He should get 1 more start in the regular season.


  • Who will AF bring up for the DH in Colorado? Will it by Kyle Hurt?  Will it be Gavin Stone?  Victor Gonzalez?


  • Will Freddie get his 3 doubles to reach 60? 4 HRs to reach 40? 4 RBI to reach 100?


  • Will JDM get 2 RBIs to reach 100?


  • Will Max get 4 HRs to get to 40? Remember he will get 3 games in SF.


  • Will Mookie get 1 HR to get to 40? Will he get 1 more leadoff HR to hold the MLB record in a season?


  • Will James Outman find his April & August stroke?


  • Who will solidify their role as a late inning high leverage reliever? I suppose it is now Evan Phillips, Ryan Brasier, Brusdar Graterol.  I do not see that changing.


  • Who will be the final 1 or 2 to fill the bullpen. Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Yarbrough figure to hold down spots.  That would leave Emmet Sheehan, Alex Vesia, Kyle Hurt, Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, and Victor Gonzalez fighting for the final two spots.  I am going with Sheehan and Vesia.  Although I can see Grove beating out Vesia.


  • That would be Phillips (R), Brasier (R), Graterol (R), Kelly(R), S. Miller (R), Ferguson (L), Yarbrough (L), Sheehan (R), and Vesia (L). 6 RHRP and 3 LHRP.  That goes with a SP rotation of Kershaw (L), Miller (R), Lynn (R), Pepiot (R).

It is clear that the Dodgers will be looking for LHP for 2024.

Final home game of the 2023 season is next on the agenda.

Go Blue!!



09-23-2023 MiLB Game Summary Report

Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 6 – OKC Dodgers 4

OKC is finishing off the regular season getting ready for the playoffs.  Their pitching is running on fumes.  Robbie Erlin went the first five, allowing 1 run with 10 hits, 2 BB and 6 K.  The next two relievers allowed 5 runs, but 4 were unearned with 2 errors by the pitchers, Tyson Miller and Bryan Hudson. Ricky Vanasco continued to pitch well in AAA with a perfect 9th inning with 2 Ks.

The future LAD:

  • Miguel Vargas – 3B – 0-5
  • Michael Busch – 1B – 1-2, 3 BB
  • Jonny Deluca – CF – 1-4, 1 BB

Ryan Ward hit his 21st HR, and David Freitas hit his 7th double.

OKC has one more regular season game in Albuquerque.


Box Score






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I think his playing with a broken rib has caused some really bad habits in his swing. When healthy, he crushes fastballs. I think giving him some rest during these last several days can do nothing but help. Let him work on his mechanics without any stress. IL him for 10 days and call up Barnhart.



As I said yesterday, give our regulars some time off over the next 11 days. Let Smith sit for a week if he needs it. It’s been said Freddie doesn’t care about personal achievements it’s about winning. If that’s true give him some time off too. For the Dodgers it’s now about being ready October 7.

As for starting pitching, I see Miller, Kershaw and Lynn with Pepiot, Sheehan and Yarbrough ready to piggyback. I still see us winning with what got us this far – offense.


Yes, simply because Barnhart has extensive MLB experience and he is a lefty hitter. His defense is considered top tier.


I would not bat Smith #3 at the moment. Put him lower, take the pressure off and move Heyward higher because he’s hot. Batting order should have something to do with production/performance.


First off, I would never believe anything that Dave Roberts says about an injured Dodger player. Second, how and why did the team allow Smith to play so long with a broken rib? For a team that babies their pitchers throughout the season yet plays an all star caliber player who hits in the middle of the order with a broken rib is confusing and disturbing. I’m sorry, but that is just plain stupid decision by the front office.

So, after a long season of catching (which is tiring enough) along with a lengthy rib injury Will Smith will most likely be a non factor offensively in the postseason. As Dave mentioned above, why has he continued to hit in the 3/4 position in the lineup?

To those who might say “well, they have plenty of offensive weapons so it’s not a big deal” I say “have you watched Dodgers hitters get shut down many times by top pitchers?” You know, the type of pitching that they’ll see in most games in the postseason.

Let’s hope Will is feeling better and gets his swing issues fixed for the playoffs. Will is my favorite player and has been since he first came up. I was confused why he was having such a rough past couple of months. I assumed it was because of the rigors of being a catcher over a long season. Again, to learn of this rib injury (that happened in May) which is still causing him discomfort and affecting his swing is difficult to understand. I guess giving a player rest during the season in order to keep them “fresh” for the postseason only applies to the pitchers.

Carry on.


this has to be a joke, it borders on the conspiratorial.


Managers are all less than forthright about injuries.


And well they should be.

But teams are very rarely treating injuries without the highest of caution and thought.


Did Smiths hitting trouble start after he was banged on the head. We were all worried about Smiths well being earlier.


No, they started about the time he broke his rib.


Ride or die


Great day in college football. USC wins, UCLA and Notre Dame lose! Love it.


Did you go to USC?


No, I joined the Army. But USC has always been my favorite college program. Loved John McKay’s teams. Can’t stand the Bruins or Notre Dame. Ohio State is not one of my favorites either.

Singing the Blue

Special note to Bumsrap:

Your guy Bobby Witt Jr. needs one more homer and two more stolen bases to become the first player in AL history to complete a 30/50 season. Of course, nobody has noticed because Acuna Jr. has done 40/70 in the NL. Ronald is 2 years older than Bobby so there’s a chance that within the next two years Witt will get there.

I just realized that putting a JR after your name seems to really up your game. I’ve just sent along a suggestion to Barnesy to change his name to Austin Barnes Jr. It could really make a difference.


But KC still plays bad baseball and has low attendance. One great guy can’t change that just like Michael Jordan couldn’t win without a supporting cast.

Singing the Blue

Are you saying we should trade for Witt AND Scotty Pippen?


They have no future and Witt is indeed it.

“How is KC going to improve attendance”

Great question.

Mookie didn’t see a strike and struck out swing. Smith looked asleep in his at bat. I have to ask a similar question to Ted’s, why aren’t our position players getting some needed time off?

Cowboys lost. That’s always a good thing.


I couldn’t believe he would make any attempt to swing at 2 and 0


He didn’t. The pitch was inside, and he could barely see the ball. The shadows played more of a role in that K than Mookie swinging at bad pitches. Plate ump was pretty bad to boot.


The Dodgers are geared to win 100 games each year and win their Division and you think Vargas or Busch will be their third baseman.

Will Witt be that much better than Lux that the Dodgers would trade a handful of talent plus Lux to get Witt. Yes. I hope not if the Dodgers can’t get Witt.

If KC is on a 4 or 5 year plan, Witt will be a free agent and not there anyway.

Neither of us know who would be involved in such a trade.


Excuse me a second while I make this play.

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