Rich Crimi-Tulsa Drillers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are perhaps the wealthy organization at the catcher position, boasting two quality Major League backstops in Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, as well as multiple top prospects across the Minor League pipeline.
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Will Smith, a 2016 first-round draft pick, is among the headliners at the talented corps, placing No. 73 in MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospects midseason update. The publication additionally ranked him as the Dodgers’ No. 3 overall prospect.
Smith joined the team for their four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, though he wasn’t promoted and added to their active roster.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained that Smith is with the club as an effort to get him acclimated to the Major League environment, so he knows what to expect when he receives his long-awaited call-up in the future, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“We as an organization wanted to bring him along to see the routine, the pre-game preparation, meeting with the catchers, the pitchers, the pitching coaches – being in a big-league ballpark and seeing how the rhythm goes. So going forward next year, two years, whenever the time comes, that it kind of defuses the anxiety a little bit.”
That Smith was able to latch on with the Dodgers for the time being and meet some potential future teammates should certainly be viewed as a valuable experience that could pay dividends down the road.
Smith’s offensive production in the Minors dipped a bit in 2018, but he nevertheless heated up at the start of the second half. An excellent month of July earned him a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City following an extended stay with Double-A Tulsa.
Splitting time between the two affiliates this season, Smith hit a collective .233/.322/.455 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 59 RBI over 405 plate appearances (98 games).
SAN DIEGO – Gorkys Hernandez did not let a gift go to waste.
A few minutes after the Padres inexplicably bunted with the winning run on third and just one out, Hernandez ignited a rally that clinched a 5-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park. Hernandez got a hanger while leading off the top of the 12th and smoked it deep to left, and the Giants would tack on an insurance run shortly thereafter.
Will Smith, who got the final out of the 11th, shut it down in the bottom of the inning on a night that ended up being quite productive for a team that had been in a free fall. The three teams ahead of the Giants in the NL West all lost.
Here’s what you need to know from a loooooong night…
— On a day the Giants called up two middle infielders, Chase d’Arnaud made an early statement. D’Arnaud hit a three-run shot into the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field to give the Giants a lead in the second inning. The homer was his third in 13 games for the Giants. He’s tied with Pablo Sandoval for the team lead in July homers.
— Steven Duggar and Austin Slater showed their speed. They also showed that they are rookies. Both stole bases, but both were also thrown out on the bases. Slater tried to take third on a grounder to shortstop in the sixth and was easily thrown out. Later in the inning, Duggar tried to advance on a pitch that bounced in front of the plate. He was thrown out at second after sliding past the bag.
— Derek Holland had another good one, allowing two earned in five innings. With both Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija now on the DL, it looks like Holland has a clear path to finish the season in the rotation.
— Reyes Moronta took over for Holland with a runner on and no outs in the sixth and pitched two dominant innings to take a one-run lead into the eighth. It was the eighth time Moronta has pitched two innings in a game this season, and he has yet to allow a run in those appearances.
— Mark Melancon allowed a single and then an RBI double with one out in the eighth, coughing up the lead. He has given up runs in three of his last four appearances.