Drafted 11th overall in the 2013 draft, Dominic Smith was supposed to be the first baseman of the future for the New York Mets. He was going to fill in the void that would be left be players like Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, or whoever else the Mets would find to plug in that position. Around now was the time that Smith was supposed to blossom into becoming the starting first baseman, and be a part of the franchise for years to come. Unfortunately for Smith a whole host of problems, some self-inflicted and some out of his control, have so far derailed that plan.
One of the problems that has so far prevented Smith from becoming the everyday first baseman is the lineup that they have assembled around him. A lot of the players on the roster of the Mets have forced Smith out of playing first base. Most notably last season, Jay Bruce started earning starts at first because of the logjam in the outfield. With Bruce’s value at the plate larger than Smith’s, the true first baseman of the pair earned only seven more starts than the other. Smith even earned starts in the outfield in last year’s positional mumbo-jumbo, which was of course out of Smith’s control. Obviously, this was not the plan when Smith was drafted.
Also out of Smith’s control has been the meteoric rise of Peter Alonso. Alonso was just voted the breakout prospect of the year by fans on Milb.com as their breakout prospect of the year. Alonso recently hit a ball with an exit velocity of 116.3 miles per hour. This was not only the hardest hit ball by a Mets player this season, but the hardest hit from a Met player since Statcast started tracking exit velocity. One could go on about Alonso, and the name that he is making in the minor league system. This should excite Mets fans, especially now that he will be playing his ball on the eastern side of the United States. However, it should worry Smith to see a player rising so fast through the system at his position. It is possible that Alonso might be the foot that Smith needs to his rear to get things together at the big league level, but it also might be the foot that kicks him off this team.
There have also been occasions where Smith has hurt his own case for being a mainstay on the team. After showing progress in the 2017 offseason by shedding 35 pounds, Smith arrived late to a meeting before the first spring training game of the year. Considering he was trying to show that he deserved the starting nod, this was a terrible look for Smith.
For the moment, Smith is stuck in a limbo that seems nearly impossible to escape. If certain factors like the ascent of Alonso and the outfield logjam did not arise during the 2018 season, Smith very well may have been the starting first baseman for the Mets. Until then, he is stuck, waiting for something to give.