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Dodgers Could Benefit By Promoting Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz

Tulsa Drillers catcher Will Smith (10)
(Shane Roper/MiLB.com)

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.

 

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