A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Yoenis Cespedes opting out of the remainder of the season. Losing a bat like Cespedes can very easily be detrimental to a lineup. However, one player has gained playing time because of it, and he has taken the opportunity in stride. Dominic Smith has been one of the Mets best hitters all season, and especially since Cespedes left the team.
Dom Smith was the Mets first round pick back in 2013. He was widely regarded as one of the best hitters in his draft class, even coming right out of high school. He was drafted as a first baseman, but played a little bit of outfield here and there as well. He made his debut on August 11, 2017, around the same time as Amed Rosario. He was a top 50 prospect, but disappointed early on in his career. He showed up to spring training way out of shape in 2018 and spent sometime in the minors.
In spring training 2019, he was going head to head with power prospect Pete Alonso. Both players played extremely well in spring training, but ultimately the starting 1B job went to Alonso. There was a lot of talk of trying to trade Smith but his value was so low. The Mets tried playing him in the outfield a bit to get him more playing time. Smith is a much better defender than Alonso is, but only at 1B. Smith does not play the outfield well.
In every one of his seasons, his batting average, slugging, and OPS have all increased. His OBP in 2017 was .262 and in 2019 it was .355. Currently his OBP stands at .375. His slugging rose from .395 in 2017 to .525 in 2019 and .717 in 2020. He is continuing to hit the ball all around the field and hitting with some power.
Ever since Cespedes opted out, Smith has been getting a lot more playing time. He has been getting sometime in LF while also serving as the DH. In the last 7 days, Smith has hit .333/.467/.750 (AVG, OBP, SLG). That includes 3 home runs (in as many games) and 4 doubles in only 27 plate appearances. Smith has been tearing the cover off the ball. He has accumulated 21 of his 33 total bases in the last 7 days. There are few hitters who have been better over the last week than Dom Smith.
It seemed for a minute that Smith’s career in Queens was over when Alonso won the starting job in 2019. However, with the implementation of the universal DH for 2020 (and hopefully beyond), Smith may have a permanent spot in this lineup if he continues to produce. He is finally starting to show the skill that caused him to be a top 50 prospect. Despite the competition between the two of them, Alonso and Smith are each others greatest supporters. Their success is vital to the Mets success. Smith has shown he deserves a spot in the line up every day so as my brother and I have been saying a lot recently, Dom Smith – good hitter.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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