The Dodgers selected University of Louisville catcher Will Smith with the 32nd overall pick in the draft.
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.
The Dodgers also own the 36th and 65th overall picks in the draft. They took Wisconsin high school shortstop Gavin Lux with the 20th overall pick in the first round.
Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers’ amateur scouting director, said Wednesday that he was a huge fan of this year’s crop of college catchers. Smith is the third college catcher to leave the board today.
Smith has had the advantage of catching future pros Kyle Funkhouser, the Dodgers’ first-round pick a year ago, and Zach Burdi, drafted in the first round this year by the Chicago White Sox. Burdi (and his brother Nick before him) both throw 100-mph fastballs.