Mets Minors: The Dominic Smith dilemma

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):

AB H BB SO 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG
30 13 3 5 2 1 0 .433 .533 .567

Player B – Last 10 Games (as of 6/8/18):

AB H BB SO 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG
44 10 2 7 3 0 0 .227 .272 .295

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.

AAA:

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.

AA:

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.

A+:

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.

A:

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.

DSL:

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.

20 comments for “Mets Minors: The Dominic Smith dilemma

  1. Larrooo
    June 11, 2018 at 9:20 am

    You can’t make any conclusions about 10 games. It’s foolish to do so.

    If you want to look at his 1 1/2 years at aaa, that is prohectable. But you know what they say about projections ….

    • Larrooo
      June 11, 2018 at 9:22 am

      And, if you haven’t noticed, the Mets have plenty of left handed hitting outfielders. If Kaz batted righty, he might have gotten the call instead of Bautista.

      On 2nd look, he has 56 at bats for the year. No homers this year in vegas and 11 in his minor league career.

  2. June 11, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Fangraphs put out their mid season prospect rankings out Alonso, Kelenic and Gimenez is on it but no Peterson or Dunn.https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-updated-top-131-prospect-rankings/

    • David Groveman
      June 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Peterson should be but I understand being “wait and see” on Justin Dunn

  3. Name
    June 11, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Smith = Jon singleton v2

    Sometimes it’s just of a waste to give ABs to certain young guys as well, and i think Smith is one of those guys.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Singleton’s problem has always been the peace pipe. The Astros tried, even Philadelphia tried, but this is why the game is 90% mental. Even the Phillies were willing to take a chance because he had talent, but he wasted it.

      Smith doesn’t have issues, other than hurt feelings. He needs to suck it up and hit like he can. The ball was jumping off his bat last year and a .218 BABIP didn’t do him any favors. Pity we had to lose two months to Alderson’s foolishness, but Alderson believes in the golden goose, the fountain of youth, and that players will always hit their baseball card, even into their mid thirties; three myths that The Genius swears by, and handicaps the team because of.

  4. MattyMets
    June 11, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Not sure if this is the plan, but if it is, it might make sense:

    From now til the all-star break, play Smith with big league club and Alonso in Vegas. Then determine if we might be better off switching their places. This way we give Smith a fair shot while seasoning Alonso. Four possible outcomes:
    A) Smith flops while Alonso excels and we swap them.
    B) Smith does well and we give him an extended look while letting Alonso finish the season in AAA.
    C) they both excel and we have a new trade chip.
    D) They both flop and we have to find a first baseman next winter

    We weren’t getting any answers with AGon clogging the pipeline.

    • June 11, 2018 at 11:47 am

      This should have been the plan on January 1.

      • David Groveman
        June 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Amen!

        • TexasGusCC
          June 11, 2018 at 3:25 pm

          Amen x 2.

          Matt, Alderson has stated that Alonso will not see the majors this year. That makes sense in two levels: 1. Why start his clock so quickly when defensively he has so much work to do. 2. Smith needs a real chance. Something that having the stiff Jay Bruce around will affect Smith as well as Nimmo and Conforto if Cespedes comes back. Also, Flores and Bautista need to play. Look at how many players they have to park at first base. No wonder My Entire Team Stinks. Why do I see the same approach as I saw in 2012?

          • David Groveman
            June 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm

            Gus,

            I said something halfway nice about Ali Sanchez

            • TexasGusCC
              June 11, 2018 at 8:09 pm

              David, I noticed but figured it may have been just politeness, LOL. However, I’m a bit confused: They are using him as a DH! and batting him third very often. I can understand the batting position in order to test him, but why DH? Is he injured, or do they want him to focus completely on hitting and nothing else?

              When he hit that three run homer last week, I had a heart attack!

              In reading draft notes, it seems the Mets have a good reputation for developing pitchers, however, the lack of development of the fringe hitters has this organization in a bad spot.

              And, I thank you for remembering!

          • TJ
            June 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm

            I did not have a problem with the AGon acquisition, and I agree 100% with his release. Clearly, he is a shell of his former self, and he play declined significantly in the last 30 days (just like the entire team). However, even if he was a 2 WAR player now instead of below replacement level, the team would still be way back. His purpose was to provide competition/motivation for Smith, veteran leadership, with a lottery ticket that he could show some of his old self.

            Now it is time to give Smith a long hard look. It is essential that they can determine what he is and can be. and it may be the difference in keeping or dealing deGrom. I am also fine with Alonso stay in the minors for this entire season. Rushing him to the bigs accomplishes nothing, and potentially stunts his development and/or his value in the trade market.

    • Chris F
      June 11, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Alonso will not be with the big club this season according to Howie.

  5. June 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Adam Lind has languished in Never Never Never Land…would have been a more project-able platoon with Flo….redsox signed hiom

  6. Rae
    June 11, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    It is time for the Mets yearly fire sale. Cespedes when and if he comes back healthy needs to go to a team that believes they are a playoff contender. This team will have to eat Cespedes’ salary plus provide the Mets with some very good prospects. Cabrera looks good to Arizona so the Mets should really consider sending him to the Diamondbacks and getting a good prospect in return. I have heard that Familia is very much wanted by the Twins but Cleveland is also interested which is all fine but these teams will need to send the Mets at least a five star AA prospect in return for a Familia summer rental. If the Mets can make some sort of trade combo say Blevins, Flores and Frazier for a 3 star prospect the Mets should jump at the opportunity. They also need to consider trading either deGrom or Syndergaard. I’d rather keep deGrom but one of them needs to be traded for whatever team can afford to trade them by relinquishing two truly elite prospects. The Mets need to make these trades or be left with a minor league system that has very few up and coming prospects especially hitters in the next few years. They might have some pitchers but they are still in the very low levels of the minors. The Mets have to seize the opportunity and trade Cespedes, Familia, Cabrera and either deGrom or Syndergaard.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      Rae, loved you post and I’d like to chime in. Cespedes has a no trade clause and specifically stated he is tired of moving around. I guess they can try, but what can they get for Bruce? LOL!

      I like the Cabrera deal, the Familia opportunities and even maybe Ramos when he comes back, but while I hated trading one of the starters, deGrom’s age makes him the most obvious choice. But, can they finish molding the prospects once they get them?

      I’d keep Frazier mostly because we want to win also and the return would be too modest. Lugo can fill in for JdG, and relievers galore for Familia, but as a Mets fanatical, let’s keep some of the band together and reload rather than tear it down. Rebuilding is done when there is no youth, but the Mets have youth so I’d hang onto that and trade the excess.

      • Chris F
        June 11, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        The Mets are in a chronic uncomfortable position from my position, namely, they cannot seem to get all the elements together, much like we see every day: good pitching, no hitting; score 6 runs, let in 8. A season that brings a WS needs to align a lot of things, and this team is out of sync, and it has been, and that is the fault of Alderson & Co. for believing in things that simply are beyond reason to expect. I dont think this team is capable of an “on the fly” reload with a FO that thinks signing vets like Bruce and Agon and ______ and ________ and _______ can make a core of key players. The reality is that the kids they play need to be talented big time, older vets need to have support roles and maybe play a couple spots daily. But this team does not believe in a “blend” of anything: Sandy wants young hard throwing starters and old HR hitters. It is a moribund approach. It is out of sync. It cannot get the job done. All strike outs and all HR. When it doesnt happen, then the result is what you see.

        I favor a rebuild, but I dont favor the people in charge to handle it. I think Alderson has an approach from the height of the doping days. He’s a hanger on to a world that does not exist, no matter how many HR are hit and how many Ks are thrown. If he wants that approach, then he needs to be in on Stanton, JD Martinez, Machado, and Harper, not the Walmart knockoffs we are used to seeing Alderson drag off the waiver wire.

        • TexasGusCC
          June 11, 2018 at 10:13 pm

          Well said Chris

        • Mike Walczak
          June 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

          The Mets have everything except a good team. You hit the nail on the head. They have some young players and role players, but lack the solid everyday performers who are in their career prime.

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