Will Smith (catcher)

William Dills Smith (born March 28, 1995) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball for the Louisville Cardinals. He was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut in 2019.

Will Smith
Smith with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 16
Born: (1995-03-28) March 28, 1995
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 28, 2019, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Batting average.261
Home runs72
Runs batted in230
Career highlights and awards

Amateur career

Smith attended Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2013, as a senior, he hit .528 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs along with pitching to a 7–1 record 0.87 ERA.[1] He went undrafted in the 2013 MLB draft and enrolled at the University of Louisville where he played college baseball. In 2015, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[2] In 2016, his junior season, he slashed .382/.480/.567 with seven home runs and 43 RBIs in 55 games.[3] After his junior year, he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.[4] Smith signed on July 17, 2016, for a $1.775 million signing bonus.[5]

Professional career

Minor leagues

Smith with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2017

Smith began his professional career with the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer Baseball League[6] and was then quickly promoted to the Class-A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.[7] He played in seven games for Ogden, 23 for Great Lakes and 25 for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League, hitting a combined .246.[8] He was named to the California League mid-season all-star team in 2017.[9] He hit .232 in 72 games for the Quakes with 11 homers and 43 RBI.[8] He was promoted to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League in July, but suffered a fractured hand after getting hit by a pitch in his debut with the Drillers and he spent the rest of the season on the disabled list.[10] He split 2018 between Tulsa and the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .233 with 20 homers and 59 RBI.[8]


Smith began 2019 with Oklahoma City[11] but was promoted to the majors for the first time on May 27, 2019.[12] He made his major league debut the following day against the New York Mets and had two hits in four at-bats as the starting catcher. His first major league hit was a single off Steven Matz in the second inning.[13] Smith's first MLB home run was a walk off against Héctor Neris of the Philadelphia Phillies on June 1, 2019.[14] On June 23, 2019, Smith hit a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies. It was the third straight game the Dodgers won on a walk-off home run by a rookie, an MLB record.[15] He returned to the minors for a month and was selected to the Pacific Coast League team at the Triple-A All-Star Game.[16] In 62 total games for Oklahoma City in 2019 he hit .268 with 20 homers and 54 RBI.[8] Smith was recalled to the majors again on July 26 to replace Austin Barnes as the Dodgers primary catcher[17] and the following day hit a homer and two doubles against the Washington Nationals as well as driving in six runs, the most RBI by a Dodger rookie since James Loney in 2006.[18] With 26 RBI and nine homers in his first 23 games, he passed Cody Bellinger for the most in franchise history through that many contests.[19] He finished the 2019 campaign hitting .253/.337/.571 in 54 games with 15 homers and 42 RBIs.[20] He had only one hit in 13 at-bats against the Nationals in the 2019 National League Division Series (NLDS).[20]


In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Smith played in 37 games for the Dodgers and hit .289/.401/.579 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs.[20] In the third game of the 2020 NLDS, Smith had five hits against the San Diego Padres, setting a new Dodgers franchise record for most hits in a post-season game.[21] On October 16, during Game 5 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) Smith became the first MLB player to face a pitcher of the same name in the postseason, Atlanta Braves pitcher Will Smith. The faceoff ended with Smith hitting a three-run home run.[22] In the 2020 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, Smith had four hits in 24 at-bats, including a home run in Game 2. He also committed a fielding error that led to the Dodgers losing Game 4, however they won the series in six games.[23]

Smith with the Dodgers at the White House in 2021


In his first full season and third overall of his career, Smith played in 130 games for the Dodgers and hit .258/.365/.495 with new career highs of 25 home runs and 76 RBIs. Of his 130 games played, Smith played third base and first base for one game each as well as serving as a pinch runner or designated hitter for 16 games while playing catcher for the remaining 117 games. He also led the National League with 11 sacrifice flies.[20] Smith started every game for the Dodgers at catcher in the postseason. He was hitless in three at-bats in the Wild Card Game, had six hits (including two home runs) in 18 at-bats in the 2021 NLDS and had four hits (one home run) in 23 at-bats in the 2021 NLCS.[20]


In 2022, Smith played in 137 games for the Dodgers, which included 109 at catcher and another 25 as the designated hitter. He had a .260 batting average, with 24 home runs and 87 RBIs.[20]


Smith signed a $5.25 million contract with the Dodgers in his first year of salary arbitration.[24]

International career

On August 29, 2022, Smith announced that he would represent the United States in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, joining fellow Dodgers Mookie Betts and Trea Turner.[25]

Personal life

William Dills Smith was born on March 28, 1995, in Louisville, Kentucky. His parents are Mark and Julie Smith, and he has a younger sister, Sara. He grew up a Red Sox fan, and his favorite player was David Ortiz.[26]

Smith married Cara Martinelli in December 2020 and their first child was born October 17 2022.[27]


  1. "Will Smith bio". Louisville Cardinals.
  2. "Will Smith - Profile". pointstreak.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  3. Jones, Steve (June 2, 2016). "Stock surges for U of L catcher Smith". Courier Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  4. Hoornstra, J.P. (June 9, 2016). "Dodgers use 32nd overall pick on college catcher Will Smith". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  5. Stephen, Eric (June 18, 2016). "2016 MLB Draft: Dodgers reportedly sign catcher Will Smith, No. 32 overall pick". SB Nation. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  6. Leboff, Michael (June 30, 2016). "Dodgers' Smith smacks first pro homer". milb.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  7. Bernreuter, Hugh (July 2, 2016). "First-round draft pick Will Smith leads Loons to win in first game". Mlive.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  8. "Will Smith Register Statistics & History". Baseball Reference.
  9. Lindskog, Mike (June 13, 2017). "Six All-Stars for Quakes!". Milb.com. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  10. Stephen, Eric (July 15, 2017). "Dodgers catcher Will Smith on DL with broken hand". SB Nation. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  11. "Tony Gonsolin, Will Smith Among Dodgers Top Prospects On Triple-A Oklahoma City Preliminary 2019 Opening Day Roster". Dodgerblue.com. 2019-04-04.
  12. Minami, Craig (May 27, 2019). "Dodgers select Will Smith's contract". SB Nation. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  13. "Mets vs. Dodgers play-by-play 5-28-19". mlb.com. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  14. Wexler, Sarah (June 2, 2019). "Smith's first homer a walk-off shot for LA". mlb.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  15. Gurnick, Ken (June 23, 2019). "Dodgers 1st team ever to win 3 in row THIS WAY". MLB.com. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  16. Oklahoma City Dodgers (June 26, 2019). "Will Smith and Kevin Quackenbush Named to Triple-A All-Star Game". milb.com. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  17. Castillo, Jorge (July 26, 2019). "Rookie Will Smith to be Dodgers' 'primary' catcher, Dave Roberts says". LA Times. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  18. "Smith doubles career RBIs in big day at the dish". mlb.com. July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  19. De Nicola, Christina (August 13, 2019). "Dodgers belt 6 homers in long ball spectacle". mlb.com. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  20. "Will Smith stats". Baseball Reference.
  21. Gurnick, Ken (October 8, 2020). "LA juggernaut cruises to another NLCS". MLB.com. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  22. DiComo, Anthony (October 17, 2020). "I am legend: Will Smith homers off Will Smith". MLB.com. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  23. "2020 World Series Los Angeles Dodgers over Tampa Bay Rays (4-2)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  24. Stephen, Eric (January 13, 2023). "Dodgers sign Will Smith for $5.25 million to avoid arbitration, per reports". SB Nation. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
  25. "Will Smith latest to commit to Team USA for 2023 WBC". Bleacher Report. August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  26. "Will Smith #30". gocards.com. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  27. ""How old is Cara Smith, LA Dodgers' Will Smith's wife? Everything to know as couple welcomes baby girl"".
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