Smith is expected to pair with Austin Barnes in a timeshare at catcher for the Dodgers this season, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports. Though Smith is considerably more explosive offensively than Barnes -- the former slashed .289/.401/.579 with eight homers last season, while the latter put up a .244/.353/.314 line with only one long ball -- the Dodgers value Barnes' defense to such a degree that they played him over Smith behind the dish frequently during their postseason run in 2020. In that scenario, Smith was able to shift over to designated hitter, but with the DH not expected to be utilized in the National League this season, he's not going to see as many at-bats as your typical starting catcher. "If you look at timeshare, I guess [Barnes is] a backup, but I don't see it as such," manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. "I think it's a 1 and 1A. They're both very valuable, and I think that we've done a good job of using both of them and exploiting strengths and things to help us win baseball games." That doesn't make it clear exactly how playing time will be divided between the two, and Smith is productive enough to be a valuable fantasy contributor even if he's out of the lineup a few days per week, but the situation bears watching early in the campaign to get a sense of how things will shake out.
Smith went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Wednesday in a loss to the Rays in Game 2 of the World Series. The 25-year-old swatted a solo homer in the sixth inning off Nick Anderson. The impressive catcher slashed .289/.401/.579 during the regular season while recording an impressive 164 OPS+.
Smith went 1-for-4 with a three-run home run in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Braves on Friday. Smith provided the turning point of the contest, launching the homer in the sixth inning to put the Dodgers up 4-2. From there, the team never relinquished the lead to force Game 6 on Saturday. It was Smith's first career postseason home run, and one of the few bright spots for him this October. In 41 plate appearances, Smith has hit just .216/.293/.378, though he has managed to drive in nine runs.
Smith isn't starting Game 4 of the NLCS against Atlanta on Thursday. Smith had a double with two RBI and three strikeouts in Wednesday's blowout win, and he'll get a breather for Game 4. Austin Barnes will start behind the plate Thursday.
Smith went 5-for-6 with a run and three RBI in Thursday's NLDS Game 3 win over the Padres. Smith was trouble for Padres pitchers throughout the game, finishing with three singles and a pair of doubles. He drove in one run with a single in the top of the fourth and added two more RBI on a double in the top of the ninth. He's now hitting .294/.429/.412 through five postseason games, a huge step up from his struggles in his first taste of playoff action last year, when he grabbed just a single hit in four games.