LOS ANGELES -- Will Smith was ranked as the 110th prospect in the 2016 Draft, but the Dodgers didn't make him wait nearly that long to hear his name.They selected Smith, a catcher from the University of Louisville, with their second pick in the first round Thursday. The Dodgers received
LOS ANGELES -- Will Smith was ranked as the 110th prospect in the 2016 Draft, but the Dodgers didn't make him wait nearly that long to hear his name.
They selected Smith, a catcher from the University of Louisville, with their second pick in the first round Thursday. The Dodgers received the pick, 32nd overall, as compensation for the loss of free agent Zack Greinke to the D-backs. The assigned value of the pick is $1,940,700.
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Smith, 20, is 6 feet tall, 192 pounds, and he bats right-handed. Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino said Wednesday that the most obvious strength of this year's Draft was college catchers. He is the first catcher the Dodgers have taken in the first round since Paul Konerko in 1994. Injuries moved Konerko to first base and the Jeff Shaw trade moved him to Cincinnati.
• 20th overall: Gavin Lux
• 36th overall: Jordan Sheffield
• 65th overall: Mitchell White
Also on Thursday, the Dodgers selected Wisconsin high school shortstop Gavin Lux with the 20th overall pick, Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield with the 36th overall pick and Santa Clara right-handed pitcher Mitchell White with the 65th overall pick.
The Draft continues Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 10 a.m. PT.
"He's a late bloomer," scouting director Billy Gasparino said of Smith. "He was a shortstop in high school who converted to catcher and it took him awhile to sync in at that level and position. He's a plus athlete with a plus arm, he receives and throws well and had a really good year this year. He's starting to hit with power; he always had a short swing but took it up another level with the power. He's from a great program and intangibles are off the chart."
Gasparino said Smith's athleticism compares favorably to Dodgers backup catcher Austin Barnes. According to MLBPipeline.com, Smith "is one of the better all-around backstops available. He's a quality defender who has upped his offensive game as a junior.
"Smith stands out most for his work behind the plate. He has solid arm strength and such a quick transfer that he consistently records pop times of 1.9 seconds or less and opponents rarely try to run on him. He's a good receiver who has more athleticism and agility than most backstops.
"After batting a combined .235 in his first two years at Louisville, Smith has been one of the Cardinals' most productive hitters this spring. He has a compact right-handed swing that lends itself to contact and getting on base, if not much power. He has at least average speed and can steal a base on occasion."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.