Rays' Kevan Smith: Bat could be key to roster spot
Smith's offensive skills could give him an upper hand in the backup catcher job battle, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
Smith is battling Michael Perez and Chris Herrmann to slot in behind starting backstop Mike Zunino. Smith is the only right-handed hitter among the trio -- perhaps not an asset for a job behind the right-handed hitting Zunino -- but he's also coming off a 2019 season with the Angels during which he posted career highs in exit velocity (89.4 mph) and expected batting average (.294). While Smith's average slumped to a still-serviceable .251 last season, it's worth noting he'd generated much stronger .283 and .292 figures in that category in 2017 and 2018, respectively. On the other hand, Perez is the only one of the three candidates on the 40-man roster already, giving Smith a tougher hill to climb to win the spot. The 31-year-old was hitting .263 (5-for-19) with four RBI and five runs across nine Grapefruit League games before spring training was suspended.
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