Will Smith
Will Smith
31-Year-Old PitcherRP
Atlanta Braves
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Smith was one of the top closers in MLB last season, compiling 34 saves for the 77-win Giants. Along with a stellar 2.76 ERA and 1.03 ERA, Smith fell just four punchouts shy of the century mark. He avoided the IL, throwing 65.1 innings, his most since 2014. He missed all of 2017 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Smith is essentially a two-pitch hurler, relying mainly on his fastball and slider, only occasionally mixing in a curve and changeup. He's lost a couple ticks from his fastball post TJS but gets more tilt on his wipeout slider. As a southpaw, Smith excels versus left-handed batters but also handles righty swingers nearly as well as top right-handed relievers. Smith left the Giants, signing a three-year, $39 million contract with the Braves. Atlanta is reportedly sticking with Mark Melancon as the closer. However, cream usually rises, and Smith is the superior arm. Draft accordingly. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#173
ADP
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$Signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Braves in November of 2019. Contract includes $13 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2023.
Returns early from IL
PAtlanta Braves
August 6, 2020
The Braves activated Smith from the COVID-19 injured list Thursday.
ANALYSIS
Scott Schebler was designated for assignment to clear room for Smith on the 40- and 28-man rosters. The Braves weren't expected to activate Smith from the injured list until the weekend, but he was brought back a day early with Atlanta needing to trim down its active roster from 30 men. When he signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Braves in the offseason, Smith was viewed as a potential candidate to close, but he'll most likely have to settle for a setup role in front of Mark Melancon after missing most of summer camp following a positive COVID-19 test. Smith was one of baseball's most dominant end gamers in 2019 with the Giants, posting a 2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 96 strikeouts over 65.1 innings while converting 34 of 38 save chances.
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Pitching Stats
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2020
2019
2018
2017
2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
7
Last 10 Games
7
Last 5 Games
7
How many pitches does Will Smith generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Will Smith generally pitch?
 
 
 
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9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
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Extra
 
 
 
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Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-22%
BAA vs LHP
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
-26%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-17%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2018vs Left .164 144 72 2 23 3 1 2
Since 2018vs Right .210 323 95 34 60 9 1 11
2020vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Left .157 72 42 1 11 0 1 1
2019vs Right .212 185 54 20 35 4 1 9
2018vs Left .171 72 30 1 12 3 0 1
2018vs Right .207 138 41 14 25 5 0 2
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-24%
ERA on Road
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
-32%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-73%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2018Home 3.00 1.17 63.0 4 2 19 12.3 3.6 0.7
Since 2018Away 2.28 0.81 55.1 4 1 29 13.2 1.8 1.3
2020Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home 2.27 1.12 35.2 3 0 15 12.9 3.5 0.5
2019Away 3.34 0.91 29.2 3 0 19 13.7 2.1 2.4
2018Home 3.95 1.24 27.1 1 2 4 11.5 3.6 1.0
2018Away 1.05 0.70 25.2 1 1 10 12.6 1.4 0.0
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2010
Smith missed 2017 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery but in 2018 quickly earned a setup role that eventually turned into closing duty, running away with the job in late June. He cleaned up after Mark Melancon and others while Hunter Strickland (finger) was sidelined. The southpaw went 14-for-17 in save situations, and along the way posted a career-best ERA while improving his K/9 by 1.4 and BB/9 by 1.5 from 2016. Smith showed he regained his strikeout punch with a 14.8% swinging-strike rate. The team owes Melancon $14 million in each of the next two seasons, but Smith has made a strong case to hold onto the job given his increased reliability against righty batters (.248 wOBA last year). The Giants have not made it a secret that they are looking to trade Smith to a contender, so while he may open the season getting saves, it's quite possible he won't be by season's end.
Smith missed all of the 2017 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, but he was able to resume throwing in September and is expected to be ready by Opening Day. Pitchers coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery are somewhat of a crapshoot, though it helps that Smith has never relied on overpowering velocity to get batters out, as his fastball sits around 92 mph. Prior to 2017, the southpaw had established himself as a reliable back-end reliever, compiling a combined 3.24 ERA and 11.9 K/9 from 2013 to 2016. Assuming he's able to regain his pre-injury form, the 28-year-old should work his way back into a high-leverage role for the Giants, likely working as one of the team's top lefty setup men. While Smith should be a solid source of ERA and strikeouts, his value will likely be limited outside of leagues that count holds with Mark Melancon locked into the ninth inning.
The Giants paid a pretty penny to acquire Smith at the trade deadline this past season, immediately slotting him into a late-inning role. The southpaw struggled with his new club early on, giving up six earned runs over his first 4.2 innings with San Francisco. He settled in nicely after that, posting a 0.80 WHIP while accumulating nine holds over 18 scoreless appearances from Aug. 20 through the end of the regular season. Smith isn't your traditional lefty, as his splits are pretty even against opposing lefties and righties. That quality is what made him such an attractive piece to the Giants and why they were willing to give up a top pitching prospect, Phil Bickford, to acquire him. Smith will serve as manager Bruce Bochy's left-handed setup man in 2017, making him a desirable target in leagues that count holds.
Smith appears poised to get some saves for the Brewers after posting the best season of his relief career in 2015. He set career bests in K/9 (12.9), ERA (2.70) and FIP (2.47) while winning seven games and holding 20 more out of the setup role. Most importantly, Smith held his own against right-handed pitching after struggling mightily against them in previous years. Righties hit just .193/.264/.281 against Smith compared to .295/.391/.481 in 2014. The Brewers announced in camp that Smith and Jeremy Jeffress would both get save opportunities this season, with manager Craig Counsell playing the matchups in the ninth inning. Smith figures to be the better source of ratios and strikeouts, although as the southpaw, he could be used less frequently in the closer role. His slider is definitely a closer-quality pitch: it drew nearly a 30 percent whiff rate and was responsible for 68 of Smith's 91 strikeouts in 2015.
Smith’s final numbers don’t tell the entire tale of his entire 2014 campaign, as 14 of the 27 earned runs he gave up during the season came during the month of July. He was dominant to begin the season, giving up just one earned run through the end of May, but he faded a bit down the stretch while appearing in 78 games, the most he has pitched at any level as a professional. Smith possess a mid-90s fastball and throws two nasty breaking pitches, and he has shown he can be a dominant southpaw. Manager Ron Roenicke will likely look to conserve Smith a little better in 2015, but he figures to be the top left-hander out of the Brewers’ bullpen.
For the second year in a row, Smith spent much of his time on the shuttle between Triple-A and the majors. He worked out of the bullpen for the most part but also got a bit of work as a spot starter as well. He posted a very impressive 11.6 K/9 over 33.1 innings, with an even tastier 6.14 K/BB, which helped solidify the Royals bullpen as one of the strongest in the majors last year. But after signing free agent Jason Vargas, evaluating their own in-house options, and looking into some additional free agents, the Royals ended up trading Smith to the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Norichika Aoki. Smith will likely get a chance to compete for a rotation spot during the spring, but he will more likely continue pitching out of the bullpen.
Like many of the Royals' young starters, Smith was thrust into action, perhaps a little ahead of schedule, due to a build up of injuries in the rotation. He was a spot starter from May through July, but found a relatively permanent home come August. He made 16 starts over the course of the season and finished with a 6-9 record and a 5.32 ERA but with just a 1.8 K/BB over 89.2 innings. He was never a big strikeout guy down in the minors, posting a 7.4 K/9 through 89.2 innings for Triple-A Omaha during the season, but that number dropped to 5.9 in the majors. He also saw a spike in his walk and home-run rates. The 23-year-old southpaw will likely get a chance to compete for a spot with the big club this spring, but he still looks like he is at least another year away from commanding the strike zone and putting together a worthwhile season for fantasy owners.
Scouts just don't understand how Smith dropped into the seventh round two years ago. He spent the summer adjusting to better competition, and by the end of the year was progressing without a hitch. Smith may be challenged in the tougher hitting environments higher in the system, but he's a long-term play in any league.
More Fantasy News
Could make weekend return
PAtlanta Braves
Not Injury Related
August 4, 2020
Smith (illness) threw live batting practice Monday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game Wednesday, putting him on track to join the Atlanta bullpen this weekend, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Continues making progress
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 31, 2020
Smith (illness) threw another bullpen session Friday and will toss a live batting practice session and participate in a simulated game soon, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Throws off mound
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 30, 2020
Smith (illness) threw off a mound Thursday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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Could return next week
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 29, 2020
Smith (illness) could be added to the active roster by next week, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Cleared to report
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 26, 2020
Smith (illness) cleared the league's COVID-19 protocols and can rejoin the team, Gabe Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
ANALYSIS
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