Lost in the hoopla of Jacob deGrom’s big night and Michael Conforto hitting another home run on Wednesday was the production of Dominic Smith, who singled in the game’s first run and homered for the final tally. Smith is trying to salvage a lost season with a strong finish. Since returning to the majors in late August, he has a .279/.313/.574 line in 64 PA. Ten of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases, including four homers. But he’s also been fortunate with a .342 BABIP in this stretch. And the less said about his 29.7 K%, the better.
Smith was considered one of the club’s top prospects. He had a very productive minor league season in 2017 but his major league debut was less than stellar. He hit for more power than expected but he was done in by a .218 BABIP. Overall this year, he’s had much more normal luck with the hits falling in and he’s still showing good power, with a season-long .212 ISO. But the strikeouts are killing him. It’s just really hard to be a good player with a 32.6 K%
With Peter Alonso likely to come up during the 2019 season, Smith apparently has a very small window to carve out a career with the Mets. But this time last year, few would have expected Brandon Nimmo to be a starter for the team, so perhaps it’s too soon to think about Smith being nothing more than trade bait.
The average NL first baseman in 2018 has a .262/.350/.454 line for an .804 OPS. Right now Smith sits with a 700 OPS in 138 PA. How much should we fault him for his .540 OPS in the first half of the year when all he got was sporadic playing time? How much should we credit him for an .887 OPS with more regular playing time but when nothing was on the line? If Smith was to get a full season’s worth of playing time next year – with the Mets or another club – do you think he could put up league average numbers for the position?