Will Smith
Will Smith
29-Year-Old PitcherRP
San Francisco Giants
2019 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $4.23 million contract with the Giants in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Signs with Giants
PSan Francisco Giants
January 11, 2019
Smith signed a one-year, $4.225 million contract with the Giants on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Smith had a solid year at the back end of the Giants bullpen with a 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 71:15 K:BB and 14 saves, though manager Bruce Bochy wouldn't commit to him as the team's closer for 2019. The 29-year-old is the best bet to open the season in the closer's role, but should be featured in a high-leverage role regardless.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
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BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .200 149 53 8 28 5 1 2
Since 2016vs Right .203 228 66 25 40 8 1 4
2018vs Left .171 72 30 1 12 3 0 1
2018vs Right .207 138 41 14 25 5 0 2
2017vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016vs Left .229 77 23 7 16 2 1 1
2016vs Right .197 90 25 11 15 3 1 2
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
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ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 4.14 1.29 45.2 1 3 4 10.8 3.9 1.0
Since 2016Away 1.70 0.88 47.2 3 4 10 12.1 2.5 0.2
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
2017Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016Home 4.42 1.36 18.1 0 1 0 9.8 4.4 1.0
2016Away 2.45 1.09 22.0 2 3 0 11.5 3.7 0.4
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Stat Review
How does Will Smith compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
92.7 mph
Strand %
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Will Smith
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161 days ago
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165 days ago
Erik Siegrist checks out the free-agent pool in the Junior Circuit, where Christin Stewart is likely to be one of the last name-brand prospects to get a big-league promotion.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Bochy noncommittal about role
PSan Francisco Giants
December 12, 2018
Manager Bruce Bochy would not commit to Smith as his closer in 2019, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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Blows save vs. San Diego
PSan Francisco Giants
September 26, 2018
Smith was charged with a blown save Tuesday, allowing one run on two hits while striking out one over an inning of work against the Padres.
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Strikes out side in save
PSan Francisco Giants
September 19, 2018
Smith fired a shutout inning with three strikeouts and a hit Tuesday against the Padres to collect his 14th save.
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Nabs 13th save
PSan Francisco Giants
September 18, 2018
Smith tossed a perfect inning Monday against San Diego en route to his 13th save of the season.
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Records 12th save
PSan Francisco Giants
September 15, 2018
Smith allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning to record the save against the Rockies on Saturday.
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