The Dodgers have selected the contract of catching prospect Will Smith, per a club announcement. He’ll take the active roster spot of fellow backstop Austin Barnes, who’s headed to the 10-day injured list with a groin strain.
Smith, a former first-round draft pick, is known as a well-rounded overall performer behind the dish. He entered the season with a consensus grade as one of the ten best players in the Los Angeles farm system.
The 24-year-old Louisville product has generally performed well at the bat in the minors, but has been more impressive than ever thus far in 2019. Through 166 plate appearances at Triple-A, he carries a .290/.404/.551 slash with eight long balls and 25 walks against 35 strikeouts.
That’s quite a bit of offense for a player who is also considered a fine defensive performer. Smith could at some point take over as the regular behind the dish in L.A., though he’ll be looking over his shoulder at Keibert Ruiz — an even more-hyped young catcher who is playing at the Double-A level.
For now, Smith will be tasked with filling in. It doesn’t seem as if Barnes will be down for long with the injury, so a return to Triple-A could take place soon thereafter. That said, it is notable that the Dodgers have placed Smith on the 40-man roster and elected to give him a look at this stage of the season.