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 $14 million in each of the next two seasons, but Smith has made a strong case to hold onto the job given his increased reliability against righty batters (.248 wOBA last year). The Giants have not made it a secret that they are looking to trade Smith to a contender, so while he may open the season getting saves, it's quite possible he won't be by season's end. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $4.23 million contract with the Giants in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Strikes out side to earn save
PSan Francisco Giants
May 19, 2019
Smith whiffed all three batters he faced to earn the save Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
Smith was called upon to preserve a one-run lead in the 10th inning and had little problem doing so, striking out the side on just 13 pitches. He now has 12 saves on the season, and has yet to blow an opportunity. With 26 strikeouts in 18.2 innings to go along with a 0.80 WHIP and 2.89 ERA he is among the more stable closers in the league.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .174 89 37 2 15 3 0 1
Since 2017vs Right .195 189 60 17 33 6 1 4
2019vs Left .188 17 7 1 3 0 0 0
2019vs Right .167 51 19 3 8 1 1 2
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
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
No Stats
Since 2017Home 3.86 1.18 37.1 2 2 9 11.1 3.1 0.7
Since 2017Away 1.31 0.67 34.1 1 1 17 13.4 1.6 0.5
2019Home 3.60 1.00 10.0 1 0 5 9.9 1.8 0.0
2019Away 2.08 0.58 8.2 0 0 7 15.6 2.1 2.1
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
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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.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 20 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
92.9 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
88.9 mph
Spin Rate
2220 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Will Smith
Mound Musings: Checking the NL Bullpens
7 days ago
Brad Johnson looks at National League closer situations, where in San Francisco closer Will Smith is doing so well, he may be a target in trade talks later this season.
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
25 days ago
Jan Levine returns to survey the National League free-agent landscape, with Carter Kieboom looking good because of a strong path to regular playing time.
Mound Musings: Some of the Biggest Surprises so Far
28 days ago
Brad Johnson names a few pitchers who’ve impressed him so far this season, like the Padres’ Chris Paddack, as well as a few he recommends avoiding.
Regan's Rumblings: 30 Teams, 30 Recommendations
30 days ago
Dave Regan offers up one move that each MLB team could make that would have fantasy impact, like having the Braves sign Craig Kimbrel.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
30 days ago
Jesse Siegel is back to update us on the latest prospect talk, including Padres' Hudson Potts and his lack of success early on at Double-A.
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
Records 11th save
PSan Francisco Giants
May 15, 2019
Smith struck out the side in the ninth inning to earn the save Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
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Notches save No. 10
PSan Francisco Giants
May 12, 2019
Smith picked up the save after striking out two in the ninth inning Sunday against Cincinnati.
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Allows homer but earns ninth save
PSan Francisco Giants
May 5, 2019
Smith yielded a solo home run but still secured his ninth save in Sunday's 6-5 win over Cincinnati. He struck out one batter.
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Picks up save No. 8
PSan Francisco Giants
May 3, 2019
Smith pitched a perfect inning against the Reds on Friday to earn his eighth save of the season. He struck out two.
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Nails down seventh save
PSan Francisco Giants
April 29, 2019
Smith recorded the save Monday against the Dodgers, working around a hit to fire a scoreless ninth inning and close out the Giants' 3-2 victory. He struck out two and walked none.
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