With the Dodgers second pick of the evening, 32nd overall, they pick University of Louisville Cardinals catcher Will Smith. As you may know, this pick is in compensation for losing Zack Greinke to free agency. Smith is 21-year old right-handed catcher. You can follow him on twitter here: @will_smith30. Per MLB.com:
In a year where a lot of the best college catching prospects are skewed heavily in favor of offense (Miami's Zack Collins, Virginia's Matt Thaiss) or defense (Tulane's Jake Rogers), Smith is one of the better all-around backstops available. He's a quality defender who has upped his offensive game as a junior. Smith stands out most for his work behind the plate. He has solid arm strength and such a quick transfer that he consistently records pop times of 1.9 seconds or less and opponents rarely try to run on him. He's a good receiver who has more athleticism and agility than most backstops. After batting a combined .235 in his first two years at Louisville, Smith has been one of the Cardinals' most productive hitters this spring. He has a compact right-handed swing that lends itself to contact and getting on base, if not much power. He has at least average speed and can steal a base on occasion.Here are some other reports and stories worth checking out:
- Here is Will Smith biography at the Louisville Cardinals website (Link Here)\
- Via Steve Jones at Courier-Journal; "Stock surges for U of L catcher Smith."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Smith, a third-team All-ACC pick, is a former ace pitcher and infielder for KCD, so he possesses a strong arm to throw out would-be base stealers, quick hands to block balls in the dirt and more speed than the average catcher.
- Via Prospect Junkies; "2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Will Smith."
- Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Athletic backstop drafted No. 32 by Dodgers."
"Smith stands out most for his work behind the plate. He has solid arm strength and such a quick transfer that he consistently records pop times of 1.9 seconds or less and opponents rarely try to run on him. He's a good receiver who has more athleticism and agility than most backstops.
UPDATE: Below is an excerpt from a press release from the Dodgers:
With their second selection of the first round, the Dodgers selected University of Louisville catcher Will Smith. The right-handed hitting catcher was rated by Baseball America as the sixth-best catcher in the draft and became the first catcher since Paul Konerko in 1994 to be drafted in the first round by the Dodgers. Smith, 21, was scouted by scout Marty Lamb.
Smith had a breakout junior season, hitting .380 (57-for-150) with eight doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI in 53 games along with a .476 OBP and a .573 SLG for the Cardinals this year. He was also named third-team All-ACC this year, while leading the Cardinals to the 2016 NCAA Super Regional, where they will face UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, June 11. During the course of his three-year college career, Smith has posted a .289/.389/.410 slashline with 20 doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI, along with a .991 fielding percentage.
“After converting from shortstop to catcher when joining Louisville, it took him a while to sync in at that position in the college level,” said Gasparino. “But we think he is a great athlete with a plus arm, and he can really receive and throw the ball well. He has always had a short compact swing with good bat speed and controls the zone very well. He is a great leader on the field, and his intangibles are off the chart.”
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