Editor’s Note – This column was written before Smith got the call to the majors.
Dominic Smith is only 22 years old, he bats left, was scouted for having advanced defensive skills and a great “contact oriented” bat and he’s been sitting in AAA Las Vegas and failing to shine. Consider the stat lines below:
Player A – Last 10 Games (as of 6/8/18):
Player B – Last 10 Games (as of 6/8/18):
Player A is Kevin Kaczmarski and Player B is Dominic Smith. There is no reason that a first base prospect of note should be struggling to attain a .600 OPS in the Pacific Coast League. Especially not when players we evaluate as being 5th outfielders are hitting without issue.
So, what is the issue with Smith?
In The Air Without Power:
Looking at his career minor league numbers the percentage of Smith’s got about an average 1.75 GB/FB rate. With a slight dip in his 2016 season (which was his best season). In 2018 he’s hitting far more balls into the air and unfortunately is not hitting them far enough to make that helpful. His infield fly ball rate is higher than it’s ever been and only 3% of his fly balls are going for home runs.
Is there any good news?
Fielding is Better:
One of the major complaints about Smith’s 46 games with the major league team in 2017 was that his fielding was atrocious. With the Vegas infield known to be a challenging plot for fielding, Smith’s defensive numbers appear to be a little better in his 46 games of 2018.
Is he about to be passed over?
Demand for Peter Alonso is Becoming Pronounced:
With Alonso in AA having already eclipsed the number of home runs from Smith’s best power season in the minors there are a lot of people asking when Alonso will reach the majors. The Mets weren’t going anywhere with Adrian Gonzalez occupying space on the team and the Mets couldn’t keep their outfield healthy enough to take advantage of a Wilmer Flores/Jay Bruce platoon but some fans and pundits weren’t asking for Smith. People want to see Alonso whose 15 home runs for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies have fans salivating. Now, thanks to Sandy Alderson dropping Gonzalez, Smith will get his chance but how long will his leash be?
What should the Mets do?
Something Would be Better than Nothing:
Promoting Dominic Smith is a move in the right direction. The Mets were sitting idle and sinking fast for 2018 and it’s disgusting to see the lack of action being taken by the front office. The Mets should not have players like Jose Reyes or Jose Bautista on their team. Let’s see the Mets drop their “Bargain Basement” former greats and promote the likes of Kevin Kaczmarski and Jeff McNeil. Let’s see how much Smith can do with the starting job this second time around and let’s remember that Alonso is waiting in the wings.
Kevin Kaczmarski makes his bid for the bench – As mentioned above, Kacz is ready to go back up to the majors and is a better play than Jose Bautista.
Peter Alonso’s strange slump – His OPS remains pretty good despite his falling batting average thanks to more walks and power hitting.
Jeff McNeil, what more can be said? – He’s hitting .405 over his last 10 games and keeps powering the Binghamton offense.
Jhoan Urena is quietly effective – Nothing to scream about but Urena has been good all year.
Welcome Justin Dunn to AA – He looked really sharp in his Binghamton debut with 7.0 innings of 2 hit ball and 9 strikeouts.
Harol Gonzalez good – 8.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run and 7 strikeouts.
Josh Prevost better – 9.0 innings, 27 TBF, 1 hit and 9 strikeouts. Very impressive.
Ali Sanchez is finally hitting – A player I’m perpetually down on is finally making good on some of that scouting he’s always been given.
David Peterson ready for promotion – Another “Ace” outing for the Fireflies and Peterson is out of things to prove at this level. The Mets agreed, giving him the call to St. Lucie.
Joe Cavallaro isn’t far behind – While not as much potential, Cavallaro is ready to get the call to Advanced A.
Strong rebound for Anthony Kay – He’s got knocked around a few times but Kay keeps bouncing back and could still finish his year in Florida.
Andres Regnault off to the races – Strong start for the 19 year old catcher who is batting .412 in the early going.
Juan De La Rosa showing pop – Two triples, a home run and 2 stolen bases for the tall outfielder.
Speedy shortstop Federico Polanco impresses early – Batting .385 with three doubles, two triples, four walks and two stolen bases would impress almost anyone.