Will Smith
Will Smith
31-Year-Old PitcherRP
Atlanta Braves
Covid-19
Injury Illness
Est. Return 7/24/2020
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Smith was one of the top closers in MLB last season, compiling 34 saves for the 77-win Giants. Along with a stellar 2.76 ERA and 1.03 ERA, Smith fell just four punchouts shy of the century mark. He avoided the IL, throwing 65.1 innings, his most since 2014. He missed all of 2017 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Smith is essentially a two-pitch hurler, relying mainly on his fastball and slider, only occasionally mixing in a curve and changeup. He's lost a couple ticks from his fastball post TJS but gets more tilt on his wipeout slider. As a southpaw, Smith excels versus left-handed batters but also handles righty swingers nearly as well as top right-handed relievers. Smith left the Giants, signing a three-year, $39 million contract with the Braves. Atlanta is reportedly sticking with Mark Melancon as the closer. However, cream usually rises, and Smith is the superior arm. Draft accordingly. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Braves in November of 2019. Contract includes $13 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2023.
Shifts to IL
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 5, 2020
The Braves placed Smith (illness) on the 10-day injured list Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Atlanta made the transaction shortly after the team revealed that Smith was one of four Braves to test positive for COVID-19. Among the four players, Smith and pitcher Touki Toussaint were revealed to be asymptomatic as of Saturday, so both could be cleared to rejoin the team in a matter of days if they can quickly procure two negative results in their subsequent tests. If Smith's absence proves to be a brief one, he should be ready to go for Opening Day and remain in the mix to close games for the Braves.
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Pitching Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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Scoring
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Minor League Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
16
Last 10 Games
17
Last 5 Games
16
How many pitches does Will Smith generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Will Smith generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-22%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-26%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-17%
BAA vs LHP
2017
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .164 144 72 2 23 3 1 2
Since 2017vs Right .210 323 95 34 60 9 1 11
2019vs Left .157 72 42 1 11 0 1 1
2019vs Right .212 185 54 20 35 4 1 9
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
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-24%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-32%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-73%
ERA on Road
2017
No Stats
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 3.00 1.17 63.0 4 2 19 12.3 3.6 0.7
Since 2017Away 2.28 0.81 55.1 4 1 29 13.2 1.8 1.3
2019Home 2.27 1.12 35.2 3 0 15 12.9 3.5 0.5
2019Away 3.34 0.91 29.2 3 0 19 13.7 2.1 2.4
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
More Splits View More Split Stats
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 2019 data (min 30 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.
  • BABIP
    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.
K/BB
4.57
 
K/9
13.2
 
BB/9
2.9
 
HR/9
1.4
 
Fastball
92.7 mph
 
ERA
2.76
 
WHIP
1.03
 
BABIP
.290
 
GB/FB
1.23
 
Left On Base
88.7%
 
Exit Velocity
89.6 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
5.8%
 
Spin Rate
2218 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
39.9%
 
Swinging Strike
14.9%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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11 days ago
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14 days ago
Four sets of individual fantasy baseball rankings are compiled into a Top 300 composite ranking for the upcoming 60-game MLB season.
The Z Files: Winning Tendencies, Part Six
31 days ago
Todd Zola breaks down roster management trends from last season's NFBC Main Event and notes that Lucas Giolito became a poster boy for exercising patience.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2010
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.
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
Tests positive for coronavirus
PAtlanta Braves
Illness
July 4, 2020
Manager Brian Snitker said Saturday that Smith tested positive for COVID-19, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Puts together solid spring
PAtlanta Braves
March 29, 2020
Smith posted a 1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 6:3 K:BB through 5.1 innings before spring training was suspended.
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Could see save chances
PAtlanta Braves
February 15, 2020
Smith will primarily work in a high-leverage setup role for Altanta, but manager Brian Snitker said he wouldn't hesitate to use the 30-year-old to close, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Lands with Braves
PAtlanta Braves
November 14, 2019
Smith signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Braves on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
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Tendered qualifying offer
PFree Agent
November 4, 2019
Smith received a qualifying offer from the Giants on Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
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