Going into the 2017 season, Dominic Smith was one of the top prospects in the Mets organization. As the team started to perform poorly, fans clamored to have him join the big league squad. There want to have Smith up with the team became bigger after the trade of Lucas Duda, the original starting first baseman.
It was understandable that people wanted Smith in the big leagues. In Triple-A Las Vegas, Smith was crushing the ball. In 114 games for the 51’s, he batted .330, while also clubbing 16 home runs, 34 doubles, and 76 RBIs. It was way past due when Smith made his debut on August 11th, and has since been the starting first baseman. Out of the gate, it was a bit of a struggle for Smith. In his first 20 games, Smith displayed an ugly .164/.197/.313 slash line. Just as it started to appear that Smith needed a bit more time to adjust to the big leagues, the calendar flipped to September.
It’s no secret that Smith has been the main source of power for the Mets in the month of September. Since joining the team, he now leads them in RBIs (22) and home runs (seven). Manager Terry Collins had an explanation for the recent uptick in offensive production, stating to Marc Carig of Newsday that “his confidence is soaring…He’s not afraid to take a big, healthy swing at a pitch instead of just trying to make contact and hit a line drive.”
Whether it be confidence or adjustment to the pitching at the major league level, Smith needs to show this season that he can be a reliable bat for the Mets in 2018. For Smith, showing that he has power in his bat should be a major objective. We know that based on how he is physically built that he will not be able to live off of just singles. Smith is built to be a gap to gap hitter with a deep power threat. It could be potentially interesting to see the other young prospect, Amed Rosario get on base for Smith to drive in. Either way, both need to produce in order to show they belong on the team.
Overall, Smith’s debut should be seen as positive. Yes, he started slow. After all, even Orioles slugger Manny Machado started the season at an incredibly slow pace, but has picked it up to the tune of a .264 average with 33 home runs. It happens sometimes. For a rookie like Smith to turn the page and start belting home runs is actually pretty impressive.
He has produced power wise, and is even starting to slowly creep his average up. He has been solid in the field, with his fielding average up to .997, only making one error since being called up. There is no reason anyone should be complaining about the start to his career, as he’d be better than any other option the Mets could put at first base. As he keeps improving, let’s hope the rest of the Mets take notes.