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.
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.