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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: WILL SMITH CATCHER LOS ANGELES DODGERS

 By now it is common knowledge in fantasy baseball that the catcher position is one big cesspool on part with tight ends in fantasy football.  Every season there are 2 or 3 very good options and then nothing but question marks from that point onward.  With Yankees slugging catcher Gary Sanchez doing his best to act like the worst hitter in all of baseball a year ago, the position is even more volatile than ever.  Which brings us to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Will Smith who at the age of just 26 in March is shaping up to make a run at the top spot at the position during the 2021 season.  Already lauded for impressive power while coming up the minor league ladder, Smith's knack for drawing walks at an above-average rate allowed him to bat .289 a year ago after a .253 rookie debut in 2019.  Even better, the knock on Smith while in the minors was that he was a strikeout machine but after posting a K/9 rate of 26.5 as a rookie, a new approach at the dish he unveiled last season helped him lower that mark to a swell 16.1.  The latter number is very rare for a catcher in today's game and when you combine the tidy average with the fact Smith cracked 8 home runs in just 137 at-bats a year ago, you can really see the potential that is at hand here.

Now of course we still have to see what Smith will do across a full MLB season and it is likely that the rigors of donning the tools of ignorance for six months would have sent the average downward from the .289 of last season.  On the flip side, Smith would have also easily cleared 20 home runs at his pace and 75 RBI would have been in play as well.  So we are talking about some very impressive and rare offensive numbers for a catcher and that makes Smith a prime target in drafts this spring given these tools.  Yes the cost will be high for someone who is still not a finished product but Smith's path is clearly on the upswing as we head into the new season.  

2021 PROJECTION:  .263 23 HR 74 RBI 63 R 2 SB  

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