The Mets first base job was suppose to be Dominic Smith‘s all along – that is until he came up to the big leagues and struggled tremendously.
Since then, the Mets have all but acted like Smith wasn’t going to be on the roster come Opening Day. General manager Sandy Alderson had some interesting words about the 22-year-old as soon as the year was up. This made some of us think the Mets had given up on him.
Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like those criticisms have gotten to Smith. He knew going into the offseason that he’d have to get into better shape before 2018 started in order to really make a name for himself. And apparently that’s exactly what he’s done.
According to the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff, Smith has lost around a whopping 30 pounds these offseason months. Now down to 224 pounds, the second-year first baseman says he feels “more athletic than [he’s] ever been.”
"“In spring training, I’ve always looked the part, but as far as my mobility and loosening up some hips and being more flexible, more agile as an athlete, I feel like this is the most advanced I’ve been for sure in my career.”"
Davidoff confirms what Smith is saying noting “he’s far more compact and limber.” And that’s going to be huge for the youngster if he wants to avoid being shipped to Las Vegas as camp breaks.
The Mets have a veteran first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez, and he believes he’ll be the starter come Opening Day. It’s up to Smith to take that job from him by outperforming him in every aspect of the game and force Sandy Alderson to grant him another chance.
As MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone noted, “if Smith overtly outperforms Gonzalez, Alderson has to reward his young first baseman.”
I believe Smith is going to open a lot of eyes this spring. He can flat out hit, and it’s possible that the big stage was a little too intimidating at first for him last season. Now, with that in his rearview mirror, Smith can get back to focusing on just playing the game he’s capable of playing. His additional physical improvements will only help get him there more quickly.