Mets Minors: Dominic Smith leads Spring Training surprises

Whether it’s simply a new season, his sleep apnea treatment or the competition of fighting off Pete Alonso, one cannot ignore the fact that Dominic Smith is relevant for the first time in what seems like a long time. As of this morning the first baseman is batting .423/.483/.577 during the 2019 spring training. That is quite a lot better than anyone imagined and if creates an odd unenviable situation for Smith moving forward.

No matter how good Smith has been this Spring. It is hard to argue that Pete Alonso has been better but Smith’s surprisingly good performance spares the Wilpons the public relations disaster that would be looming if Alonso was this good and all the veteran options were not. Smith’s great spring give the team plausible deniability in a case for delaying Alonso’s arbitration clock but where this ends is less clear.

Imagine a scenario where Smith plays in the majors and plays well out of Spring Training. How long will the Mets run with him in that role? How much can the Mets expect to get in trade for a player that other teams know they have no room for? It was never impossible for Smith to break out in 2019 but you are lying if you claim to not be surprised.

Smith isn’t the only one having a good spring. We’ve seen everything from an Amed Rosario offensive breakout to Corey Oswalt dominance with lots of positive storylines in between.

Spring Training Surprises:

Amed Rosario fighting his way out of the 8-hole – With a strong Spring one could see the Mets tempted to have Rosario hitting higher in the lineup… maybe even 2nd.

Corey Oswalt appears to be the Ace of AAA – He’s been one of the better pitcher (overall) this spring and has likely locked up the #6 starter job should a starter come down with an injury.

Travis d’Arnaud is quietly having a strong Spring – While his defense is still supremely suspect (as is his health) it seems that d’Arnaud is making the case that he still has something to offer a major league lineup.

Hector Santiago give the Mets a rare spare lefty – It seems that Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan are locks for the roster but we shouldn’t ignore that Santiago has also pitched pretty darn well. Could the Mets actually break camp with three lefties in the bullpen. Unlikely but not impossible.

Not starting Pete Alonso showing discipline – Considering the power he’s displayed you’d expect him to show some Aaron Judge strikeout numbers as well but in his 10 games this spring he’s only amassed 5 strikeouts.

Nobody but me seems to care about Tim Peterson – The righty doesn’t profile as anything special but this spring he’s not given up a single hit and has struck out 6 over 4.1 innings. On top of that, he’s done a good job with inherited runners.

Jeremy Vasquez hasn’t shown his bat off – Instead, he’s showing off his patience. He’s only amassed 3 at bats over his 4 Spring Training outings and has collected 4 walks during that time. As I write this he has a .000 batting average and a .500 on base percentage.

Mets don’t look like an improved defensive team – One problem the 2018 Mets suffered with was defense. The hope was that thanks to improved outfield defense (Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton) as well as steadying veterans in the infield (Robinson Cano and Jed Lowrie) but, as a team the Mets have tallied 28 errors this Spring.

Anyone else becoming a Luis Avilan fan? – The lefty has impressed me over his 5.2 innings of relief so far. He is not giving up hits or walks and he’s striking out a solid number of batters. Looking at his career line there is reason to hope that he will prove to be a Met bargain.

The Luis Guillorme the hitter – Raise your hand if you thought Guillorme would have a 1.187 OPS this spring? Now put those hands down because you’re lying.

Are Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto a concern? – Not all surprises are good ones. Two of the players expected to be steady contributors for the Mets are having fairly poor showings this spring. Michael Conforto has a .628 OPS with 12 strikeouts and no walks while Brandon Nimmo is looking even worse with a .527 OPS.

15 comments for “Mets Minors: Dominic Smith leads Spring Training surprises

  1. March 11, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Dom had an OPS around .700 in Vegas last year, which is horrendous. Who knows maybe the sleep apnea led to his struggles and now he’s ready to turn it around, but he has just one extra base hit this spring iinm. Mets need a righthanded bat and Alonso is killing it this spring. It is too bad there’s no dh in the nl but this might be Ike vs Duda again. Loved the Avilan signing and think he’ll be a key guy in the bullpen. I have no worries about Nimmo and Conforto.

    • March 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Hi David,

      If Smith’s rebirth is to be believed he could once again be the high-average low-power first baseman we expected.The bat they need is Alonso, you are 100% right. You need a righty power bat in the middle of all of your lefties.

      Nimmo has responded with a 3 hit day.

  2. Chris F
    March 11, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Spring training, like the weather this time of year, is hard to wrap your mind around.

    Harkening back to Terry Collins of all people, who noted the inherent messiness of March and September numbers and records. This seems to have played out in the lack of correlation between ST and reg season records posted at M360 last week in an excellent article.

    What to make of what we see? I find it hard to answer without succumbing to Sandy Alderson backwards double-talk dialect. I guess I accept that.

    Smith still concerns me, but I hope he does well enough to pique other clubs’ interest so we could get something in trade. We dont need a lefty hitting 1B. Im not sold on the power and Im not sold on the defense.

    Rosario looks like he is growing up. I like what I see so far.

    Alonso is gonna be a big leaguer. Always a concern that there is a cliff from the minors to the bigs, but he’s a hitters hitter. Righty hitting power at 1B…Ill take it, and whatever defense he needs to learn.

    Who is Dowdy?

    Lets not over play Guillorme. He has a long record of not much.

    Cano could give us real pr at bats. Im not a huge Cano fan, esp after the doping conviction, but he looks good to be sure.

    Im not sure I understand what happened to Lowrie. Didnt the doctors check him out?

    Im happy for Wheeler and Matz. Skeptical, but happy, and hoping the magical mystery tour rolls forth.

    Say anything you want, but Noah has issues. He cant close the door on pitchers counts, and still says goodbye to a lot of balls rocketing over over his head. I hope he’s just logging innings and going through a routine, but it looks familiar.

    The last 2 games sure made me think there may be some offense in Queens. But its the second week of March. Will the Chili Davis, “hit line drives”, approach work? What about running? The team hired a basepaths coach with the belief that extra bases matter big time.

  3. March 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Nimmo having a big game and is now hitting nearly .300 this spring training, its almost like spring numbers are a short sample. Oh and batting average is a bad stat.

  4. March 11, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Alonso really is impressive but they will need to leave him in minors until they gain the extra year of control 3 weeks after opening day. By then they should have an idea of what they have with Smith. They need to establish Smith to create value because he has none now. Then he can be used as a trade chip or whatever. Rosario looks good and similarly they need to establish his value should they move him to make room for Giminez. Comforto and Nimmo look set to be solid and Ramos if healthy looks like he can really swat the stick. Not sold on Cano given his age and the way he holds back McNeil who I like and I also like Davis a LOT based on what I’ve seen so not sure where all the infielders…..Lowrie, Cano, McNeil, Frazier, Rosario are going to fit in. Not crazy about sticking Mcneil or Smith in the OF. Hope Lowrie gets to show us what he’s got but who knows when we’ll see him?

    • March 11, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      And what if they miss the playoffs by a game or two? Would a year of control be worth it? You know the answer to that.

    • March 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

      Every team in the majors knows the Mets don’t need/want Smith. There is no way of him earning legitimate value. If we don’t want him, nobody else does either.

  5. Mike Walczak
    March 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I think there should be the spring training hall of fame.

  6. Joel Brown
    March 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Too bad about Drew Smith. Good news for Bashlor and Handhold.

  7. José
    March 11, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Someone recently posted this gem on ewe-toob:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifbs2BioOBE

    1986 NLCS Game 6 Mets @ Astros (full 4 hrs)

  8. Metsense
    March 11, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    This off season BVW told the media that if Alonso is ready he will be the starting first baseman. He then met Alonso and personally told him the same thing to his face. Alonso has spoken with his bat saying is ready and backed it up with 414/469/828/1.296. I think he should get 75% start and Dominick Smith the other 25%. Dom has figured out that he should sleep in his bed and stay awake on field.
    I have two concerns. Broxton and Lagares are redundant as well as TDA and Mesoraco. If all go north then it weakens the roster because that leaves JD Davis the 13th man and no back up SS. Guillorme would have filled in temporarily but there is no room of him. Guillorme is just a filler piece until Lowrie gets back.I wish the Mets could trade Lagares and TDA.
    Santiago should be a last man a the bullpen because he can being a swingman and he has had a good spring.

    • March 12, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Lagares and TDA need to prove to be healthy to have any value but even then their costs are high considering their likely contributions so you will likely not get anything back.

  9. TexasGusCC
    March 12, 2019 at 3:51 am

    Question for anyone that knows:
    If Alonso starts the season on the major league roster, then when he slumps, goes down for a few weeks “to clear his head”, can’t they gain the extra year control that way?

    I’m not so sure I want to see three catchers on the active roster, and this JdG must throw to Mesoraco is overplayed. I’d rather see TDA traded and Dom Smith too, rather than juggling the 40 man roster.

    Wasn’t surprised to see TJ Rivera get cut, but was more surprised it didn’t happened in late November. Paul Sewald and Drew Gagnon are probably the next bubble guys.

    • Metsense
      March 12, 2019 at 7:05 am

      If Alonzo goes down to the minors he is not accumulating service time so therefore the Mets would get the extra a year if he goes down for 3 weeks or so.
      Roster space is a very important concept for a contending team. I too would like to see Lagares and TDA traded because of this. Both have value but the Mets would have to probably pick up some of their salary to get a worthy Prospect. Dom also is going to be redundant soon so I agree that he also should be traded but I don’t think he has established any value yet. A very good post Gus.

      • Mike Walczak
        March 14, 2019 at 8:26 pm

        I also found game 7 if the 1952 world series on YouTube as well. Awesome to see Mantle, Robinson, Snyder, Campanella and Berra. It was a much different game then.

        I recommend that you watch it.

        What teams suck enough who will not win who could use and try to see Smith develop? Yes, the Marlins and Royals.

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