I remember it like it was only yesterday…
Well, that’s a bit dramatic.
But when the Mets, with the infamous 11th overall pick they wouldn’t give up to sign Michael Bourn in 2013, drafted the young first baseman Dominic Smith (18 at the time, just out of high school) I immediately said to myself, “This kid is going to be a superstar.”
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I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was all idealistic… that general baseball optimism that comes from following the potential stars of tomorrow. The way the Mets were drafting at the time, it was clear they were going high upside position players, desperate to stockpile youthful everyday exuberance in a system filled with budding, highly-hyped pitchers. The vines of those efforts are just beginning to show, as shortstop Amed Rosario is currently exemplifying in Port St. Lucie.
Do not, however, turn a blind eye to the kid from Juniper Serra High School in Gardena, CA. Not only is he turning heads in spring camp, but it is clear that Smith and Rosario are the cream of the crop of the current Mets prospects.
"“Smith and Rosario are going to be legit big-league players. I know nothing about scouting. But, having watched rookies in camp for a decade, what I do know is when I see two kids that simply look the part….It’s in their swagger, in their ‘way,’ how they strut with the bat, kill time between pitches and communicate with the veteran players….It was also interesting seeing how their fellow minor-leaguers reacted to them when running by…Smith and Rosario are in big-league camp. And, while they’re hitting with other young players, two guys who I did not recognize, it is still big league camp. So, when the rest of the organization’s minor leaguers left the minor league clubhouse and jogged behind the backstop where Smith and Rosario were hitting, they were forced to acknowledge one another.The two top prospects hugged guys, exchanged jokes, and looked to genuinely miss their old buddies. But, it was clear as day how in awe and slightly jealous the other minor leaguers were of the difference in status.Smith and Rosario are big time. You know it. I know it. The Mets know it. The coaches know it. Their old teammates know it. And, judging by their swagger, Rosario and Smith know it…”"
Though the power has yet to arrive, which should for the 6-foot, 250 pound 21-year old, he has collected 240 RBI in 1574 AB over four minor league seasons with a .294 AVG and a .360 OBP (he has yet to play above Double-A so none of those years are Vegas-bloated).
He has had an incredibly slick fielding glove the whole time as well, so don’t worry your pretty little head on what the Mets could be sacrificing for more offensive prowess at the position. This kid is as well-rounded as anybody.
2017 is a huge transitional year for the big league club’s first base position. The draft pick of Smith in 2013 spoke loudly of the Mets’ confidence in Lucas Duda‘s long-term ability to lock down the position. One could say that question has been answered with an emphatic “no,” and we are about to watch the last chapter in The Duda’s Metsian history.
As far as I’m concerned, however, the Mets will be A-OK with Smith’s ascension to the big league ranks at the right infield corner. I’ve been waiting almost four years for that day. It cannot come fast enough.