HomeTeamsRoyalsWhy the Kansas City Royals Should Consider DFA-ing Will Smith

Why the Kansas City Royals Should Consider DFA-ing Will Smith

The Kansas City Royals are facing a tough decision with relief pitcher Will Smith, as his performance in the 2024 season has been far from ideal. With a stat line that raises eyebrows for all the wrong reasons, coupled with concerning advanced metrics, the case for designating him for assignment (DFA) becomes increasingly compelling.

Smith’s numbers paint a stark picture of his struggles on the mound. In 9 appearances, he has secured only 1 save, tallying a dismal ERA of 12.38. His inability to stifle opposing batters is evident in his 5 walks and 14 hits surrendered in just 8 innings pitched. These figures translate to an alarming 11 earned runs, demonstrating a lack of effectiveness and consistency that is detrimental to the team’s success. 

Smith is supposed to be the closer for this team, or at least that was the initial assessment when Kansas City signed the three time World Series Champion.  

Delving deeper into Smith’s performance through advanced metrics only reinforces the argument for his DFA. His batting average stands at a staggering .389, indicating that hitters have little trouble making contact and finding success against him. Furthermore, his on-base percentage allowed is a concerning .465, reflecting his struggles to keep runners off base and prevent scoring opportunities for the opposition.

Perhaps most damning is Smith’s slugging percentage against of .611, showcasing the propensity for opposing batters to not only get on base but also to do so with authority, inflicting damage through extra-base hits. When considering his opponents’ combined on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.076, it becomes evident that Smith is not only failing to limit baserunners but also struggling to prevent them from capitalizing on scoring opportunities.

Beyond his on-field performance, Smith’s advanced metrics reveal underlying issues that further warrant consideration for his removal from the roster. His walk rate of 11.4% indicates a troubling lack of command, contributing to his high ERA and inflated opponents’ batting averages. 

Furthermore, Smith’s struggles extend beyond his performance against batters. His ground ball rate of 22.6% and fly ball rate of 32.3% highlight a tendency to allow balls to be put in play, increasing the likelihood of opponents reaching base and scoring runs. Additionally, his high hard hit rate of 38.7% underscores the frequency with which he surrenders extra-base hits, compounding the issues posed by his already inflated ERA.

From a value perspective, Smith’s negative wins above replacement (-0.30) and his below-average fielding independent pitching (-1.3) only serve to reinforce the argument that his presence on the roster is detrimental to the team’s success. His negative contribution to the team’s overall performance, coupled with the resources invested in retaining him, make a strong case for the Royals to part ways with him.

Will Smith’s underwhelming performance in the 2024 season, as reflected in both traditional statistics and advanced metrics, presents a compelling argument for the Kansas City Royals to designate him for assignment. His struggles to stifle opposing batters, coupled with underlying issues revealed through advanced metrics, indicate that his presence on the roster is hindering rather than helping the team’s chances of success. As the Royals look to optimize their roster and remain competitive, parting ways with Smith may be a necessary step towards achieving their goals.


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