Lucas Duda has been with the Mets since 2010 and has hit 112 home runs in that time. He’s been one of the only constants of the Mets lineup and as he approaches the end of his arbitration years it appears to be time for he and the Mets to go their separate ways.
Duda hyperextended his arm on the 19th and was forced to leave the game early. The injury isn’t extremely serious but it’s another injury on what has become a troubling list since last season. People will remember that he missed an extended chunk of Spring Training with a back injury and that he only managed to play 47 games in 2016.
Enter Dominic Smith. At 21 years of age, Smith is a great defensive first baseman with a bat that keeps getting better. He began his Met career in 2013 when the Mets selected him 11th overall in the amateur draft. What you may not remember is that the Mets were forced, because of terrible MLB draft rules, to not sign outfielder Michael Bourn or they would lose their #1 draft pick. Based on Bourn’s steady decline since 2012 that was a blessing in disguise.
Smith, meanwhile, has been a promising player from the start. His only weakness is that he didn’t seem to fit the mold of what we assumed a first baseman was supposed to look like. For one, he wasn’t that big. (Smith is only 6 feet tall, which might be big amongst most people but would make him one of the shortest players at his position.) For another, he didn’t seem to have the prototypical power that fans expect in a first baseman. (Smith’s power numbers in 2014 and 2015 were decidedly anemic with only hitting 7 home runs in 917 at bats.)
Things started changing when 2016 rolled around. Smith’s home run production more than doubled and this change in approach did not ruin his terrific contact and control of the plate. His .824 OPS in Binghamton was a great sign of things to come and thus far his 2017 has only been better.
Now, we need to acknowledge that Las Vegas is a hitter’s paradise and that Smith’s numbers are inflated but we also need to come to terms with the fact that whenever he comes up to the majors, he’s going to need an adjustment period. With Duda’s injury it might behoove the Mets to test the waters sooner rather than later.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s
Amed Rosario not slowing down – He has a .410 average over the past 10 games and he’s got 5 stolen bases on the year.
Gavin Cecchini has a bad week – Nothing awful but this wasn’t a good week for him.
Travis Taijeron has a meaninglessly high OPS – When a player has a .959 OPS and nobody seems excited it’s usually because of other glaring flaws. He’s also got more strikeouts than games played.
Tyler Pill back on the depth chart – Pill earned a promotion to AAA after two solid starts in Binghamton and threw an absolute gem on Wednesday.
Rafael Montero thriving after demotion – Typically, Montero has stumbled after demotions but he threw a masterful 5.0 innings in his first start for Vegas.
AA: Binghamton Rumble Ponies
P.J. Conlon has yet to stumble – He has 17.0 innings under his belt and a WHIP under 1.00, which is great.
A+: Port St. Lucie Mets
Justin Dunn isn’t doing well – He’s thrown three games and the results on his early 2017 season have been bad.
Wuilmer Becerra is struggling – Over the last 10 games he has 16 strikeouts and only a .238 average.
Peter Alonso out – He has not played since 4/11.
Patrick Mazeika a hitting catcher – Hard to complain about a catcher with a .890 OPS.
Jhoan Urena learns to walk – It’s probably an aberration but Urena has walked 12 times in his last 10 games.
Anthony Dimino plays everywhere – We know he can catch but Dimino has also played 3rd base and 1st base for the St. Lucie Mets.
Nabil Crismatt struggles slightly – It wasn’t an awful outing but Crismatt’s 8 strikeouts in 5.0 innings were eclipsed by the 5 runs he surrendered.
A: Columbia Fireflies
Desmond Lindsay still struggling – He’s only hitting .121 over his last 10 games.
Merandy Gonzalez deserves praise – Three starts, 20.2 IP, 0 ER, 10 hits, 1 walk and 18 strikeouts.
Jordan Humphries isn’t far behind – Three starts, 18.2 IP, 2 ER, 10 hits, 1 walk and 22 strikeouts.
Ali Sanchez not hitting a lick – He’s got a .238 OPS to start the year. That’s beyond bad.