With the 11th overall pick in this year’s amateur player draft, the Mets selected first baseman Dominic Smith from Junipero Serra High School in California.
The lefty hitting Smith is a smallish first baseman (6’0″) with room to grow, who is seen as a very good defender who will stick at the position. He was viewed as one of the best prep bats in this year’s draft. After the Mets selected him, Jim Callis referred to him as perhaps the best overall bat in the draft.
Smith, who will turn 18 on June 15th and grew up in the same area of Los Angeles as Mets great Darryl Strawberry , was present at the draft tonight and donned a Mets jersey while he was interviewed by Sam Ryan of the MLB Network. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m lost for words. This is a great honor and opportunity, and i can’t wait to get out there…David Wright is a hall of fame potential player, Matt Harvey is a great young guy, and hopefully I can come up and help the team out.
Here’s what Jonathan Mayo had to say about Smith prior to the draft:
Very solid defender at first, though it’s the fact that some see him as the best pure high school hitter in the class that will get him drafted in the early stages.
The Mets were said to be interested in the two top prep outfielders from Georgia, Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows. However, they were gone before the Mets picked. Frazier went fifth to Cleveland, and Meadows went ninth to Pittsburgh. DJ Peterson and Hunter Renfroe, two players the Mets were also linked to, were both available at 11.
Peterson was the name that had picked up steam today as being the player the Mets would select, but they opted to go with Smith. The pick is being lauded by most of the experts. Here’s some reaction from twitter:
Love the Mets pick of Dominick Smith 1B…has a chance to develop into an impact middle of the order bat and ++ defender
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 7, 2013
Dominic Smith .. He has legit gold glove upside at 1st with a chance to have plus power. Mets made a very smart pick here. Bravo — St Lucie To Flushing (@PSLToFlushing) June 7, 2013
One gm says Dominic Smith was the best interview he conducted since Darin Erstad, ’94. Highest praise
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 7, 2013
Those tweets all make me excited about Smith’s potential, but Gammons’ one stood out for me. Since the new regime took over, they’ve taken three very high character guys with their first overall selection (Brandon Nimmo in 2011, Gavin Cecchini in 2012, and Dominic Smith this year).
After making their pick, the Mets hosted a conference call with reporters. As transcribed by Adam Rubin, here’s some of what they had to say regarding Smith…
Scouting Director Tommy Tanous:
We felt going back to last spring, into the summer, that this was one of the most advanced high school hitters that you’ll find. The fact that he bats left-handed is even nicer. You don’t find a swing like this every year. We feel like we put a very offensive player and defensive player into the system. I’ve been scouting 18 years. I don’t think I’ve seen a first baseman play as an amateur that plays this kind of defense. This a well-rounded player — it’s hit and power and it’s a middle-of-the-order bat.
There’s no doubt in our my mind he could go out and play the outfield, but we think he’s a special defender at first base… It will always be an option if it needs to be at some point. But he has a chance to impact the game defensively at first base, and we think that’s actually one of his pluses.
Welcome to the Mets, Dominic!
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