Will Smith
Will Smith
30-Year-Old PitcherRP
San Francisco Giants
Injury Back
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.
Could pitch Saturday
PSan Francisco Giants
September 14, 2019
Smith (back) threw Saturday and hasn't been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Marlins, Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com reports.
Smith hasn't pitched since last Friday. Previous reports held that he wouldn't be back until Tuesday at the earliest, but it's possible that he'll wind up ahead of that schedule.
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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 .173 137 67 2 23 3 1 2
Since 2017vs Right .211 310 91 32 58 9 1 11
2019vs Left .175 65 37 1 11 0 1 1
2019vs Right .214 172 50 18 33 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
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
No Stats
Since 2017Home 3.15 1.20 60.0 3 2 18 12.2 3.5 0.8
Since 2017Away 2.38 0.81 53.0 4 1 28 13.1 1.9 1.4
2019Home 2.48 1.16 32.2 2 0 14 12.7 3.3 0.6
2019Away 3.62 0.91 27.1 3 0 18 13.5 2.3 2.6
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.
92.7 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
89.5 mph
Spin Rate
2210 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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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
Throws off flat ground
PSan Francisco Giants
September 13, 2019
Smith (back) played catch from flat ground Friday, Amy Gutierrez of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
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Could return this weekend
PSan Francisco Giants
September 11, 2019
Smith (back) will resume throwing Thursday and if all goes well could pitch this weekend against the Marlins, Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com reports.
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Still battling back issue
PSan Francisco Giants
September 10, 2019
Smith (back) remains unavailable to pitch Tuesday, Kerry Crowley of The San Jose Mercury News reports.
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Dealing with back tightness
PSan Francisco Giants
September 7, 2019
Smith was unavailable for Saturday's game against the Dodgers due to back tightness, Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com reports.
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Holds on for 32nd save
PSan Francisco Giants
September 6, 2019
Smith earned a ninth-inning save against the Dodgers on Friday, allowing one run on one hit and a walk while striking out two.
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