Dodgers Could Benefit By Promoting Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz

Tulsa Drillers catcher Will Smith (10)
(Shane Roper/

As fans may already be aware, the Dodgers have a multitude of catching prospects, two of which could contribute to some degree if promoted to the big leagues.

At the forefront are Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith.

Before Matt Beaty and Kyle Garlick were promoted, the Dodgers were carrying three catchers with Austin Barns, Russell Martin and—after Travis d’Arnaud was traded—Rocky Gale. Then, the Dodgers decided to send down Gale in favor of bringing up Beaty and Garlick,

The better move may have been either Ruiz or Smith.

The Dodgers reasoning for carrying three catchers before was wanting flexibility to Barnes and Martin in the field and having one of them pinch hit while still having a catcher in case something happens. The organization says that neither Ruiz or Smith are ready to be full-time big leaguers, but this would give them an opportunity to provide some value and show what they can do. Calling one of these prospects up would also give the Dodgers that third catcher flexibility.

Smith’s ability to play third base goes with the team’s reputation of versatility,  which always increases a player’s value. Smith’s fine defense also brings his stock up. On the other side of the game, Smith’s offense definitely has improved at the Triple-A level this season. Poor offensive production was the reason why the Dodgers were hesitant to bring him up previously; however, as his production has improved, so have his chances of being added to the 40-man roster. Smith would be another right-handed bat that the dodgers could use against lefty pitching, which could be useful.

So far this year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Smith is hitting .267/.390/.508 with six homers, seven doubles and 24 RBI through 33 games.

With Ruiz, we have what we lost with Grandal—a natural switch-hitting catcher. Ruiz, similar to Grandal, is better on the left side of the plate as well.  Being a legitimate offensive threat would bring value in a pinch hitting role as power vs. a righty and more of a contact approach against a lefty. Furthermore, Ruiz is believed to be MLB ready by scouting directors when it comes to all aspects receiving.

Through 33 games at Double-A Tulsa, Ruiz is hitting .276/.343/.350 with two homers and 15 RBI.

Bringing one of these prospects up would bring value to either a defensive replacement in Smith or pinch hitter against a righty in Ruiz.  Either way, the Dodgers should bring one of these prospects up to see what they could do in a limited role.


19 thoughts on “Dodgers Could Benefit By Promoting Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz

  1. I’m not saying you’re wrong John, but my feeling is that both Smith and Ruiz need more every day playing time and if either was brought up now, they would spend most of their time on the bench or getting one at bat per day as a pinch hitter. If Barnes and/or Martin are hitting below the Mendoza line in late August it might be a good idea, but for the next 3 months I’d prefer to have Smith and Ruiz getting 4 at bats every day and refining their catching skills, although those are well developed already. As I’ve stated before I think this thing about not using your second catcher because something awful might happen to the starter has statistically been proven to be a fallacy. It probably happens less often than a no hitter. I feel that building your roster and setting your strategy on that rare outcome is a total waste.

  2. Not yet. As long as Barnes and Martin are healthy they both deserve to be the catchers on this team just by experience alone. Smith and Ruiz need to be playing everyday, not sitting on the bench 4 of every 5 games. Their time is coming soon but it’s not yet here.

  3. Everyone here is going to hate me before it’s over with because I post this same phrase every Ryu start but……. “PAY THIS MAN!!!! PAY HIM NOW!!!!!”

  4. Ryu IS being paid Alex. Apparently you don’t think he is, but check payroll. He’s making good money. $17.9 million.

    I like the idea of bringing up one of those catchers, though I don’t think they really need one this early. When they felt they did need one they brought in Gale and d’Arnaud instead of Smith. Smith is 24, he appears to be ready. I’d like to see the guy.

    1. Seriously Scoop? Yes he’s making good money which expires at the end of this year? Has he still not done enough in your eyes to warrant a new contract? If a 1.52 ERA with a 1.97 ERA last year and a 27:1 strikeout to walk ratio isn’t worthy then i would like to know what is. Yes he’s in his early 30’s but Ryu isn’t a power pitcher so age is not as big of a factor. If he gets to the open market there will be a bidding war and he will easily get $100 million. Why not try to save $20-$30 million while you can?

  5. Why resign him now Alex? I love what he is doing, but the dodgers will have to pay him the same amount of money whether they sign him now, or in the off season. Not many players sign extensions in the middle of the season, and I don’t remember the dodgers extending a player during the season, plus we can wait to see if he makes it through the year healthy, which he hasn’t done much in his career, but I did love your teddy G/ rounders reference. To your credit he is as good as any pitcher in the league right now.

  6. What did you guys think of kenley shaking off Martin so much in the game a few days ago? Does it worry you he didn’t want to listen to the catcher/scouting report? Or should we be happy he has so much confidence in his stuff, that he doesn’t have to listen to the catcher/scouting report?

    1. In response to your Kenley question Keith it doesn’t worry me that Kenley doesn’t want to listen to the game plan, it annoys the hell out of me. If he were still pitching like he was 2-3 years ago I could shrug my shoulders and say “don’t argue with success” but he simply isn’t the same pitcher he used to be. Still very good, but no longer great. He has morphed into a “me first” guy instead of a “team first” guy and that was also made clear with his comment about not being willing to share his closer role with Kimbrel were he to be signed. I think that in spite of the “I’m not worried” attitude he’s been flashing, he is definitely worried that his talents are slipping and instead of experimenting with mixing in other pitches (a la Mr. Baez) he wants to stick almost exclusively with what brought him success in the past. It’s time to evolve Kenley. Do it or you may find you have a shorter career than you had anticipated.

  7. I completely agree with those who feel that Smith and Ruiz need to be getting playing time and at bats in the minor leagues so that they can continue the developmental process. Bringing them up to sit on the bench much of the time is in nobody’s best interest.
    I also agree that the Dodgers should try to extend Ryu now because if he is still performing at such a high level at the end of the year, it will be increasingly evident that there may be widespread interest in signing him to a large free agent contract. That will make it more expensive and more likely that he will sign elsewhere.

    1. I get the minor league experience aspect Bob, but don’t forget Smith had 3 years at Louisville before signing. He’s 24. If he is hitting at AAA he could be ready. That said, we have 2 veteran catchers. If that should change I have no problem bringing Smith up. Ruiz is 3 years younger and OPSn .718 in AA ball. He’s not ready.

      It’s May Alex. There is NO good reason to extend Ryu and plenty of good reason to wait. The Dodgers will likely play this right. Ryu is 32 now and hasn’t thrown 150 innings since he was 27. I don’t believe there will be $100 million offered to a 33 year old pitcher with history of injuries. If he finishes like he has started…. yes there will be interest. To be honest I don’t think he will keep this up.

  8. I personally wouldn’t extend Ryu yet, but for the sake of argument, three years at what he is making now, 18 mil per year, would be my guess on his worth. Two years ago arrieta signed for three years at 20 mil per year, at a similar age to Ryu, and Keuchel couldn’t get any team to give him that offer. If you’re a 33 year old pitcher ( next season ) it’s going to be hard to get three years or more. That said, I think he is the best pitcher in the league at this time, and I hope he pitches good enough the rest of the season to deserve 100 million dollar contract.
    You just had to do that didn’t you scoop. Gut doctor sucks!!!!

  9. Injury wise Ryu is too big a risk for Dodgers to extend him now and let’s see how he performs in post season. That’s what Dodgers really need and outside of opening win against Atlanta he wasn’t great last year. Here’s what I think Dodgers do
    Next year. They slide Urias into Ryu’s spot and resign Hill on a cheap 1-2 year deal.

  10. With all the good young arms coming up I don’t see Dodgers giving Ryu more than a Two year deal

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