Mets: Dominic Smith learning to play outfield helps everyone
By Tim Boyle
Dominic Smith is learning to play the outfield. If successful, it can really help his career and the New York Mets.
When it comes to Dominic Smith, the New York Mets are in a bit of a bind. As long as Adrian Gonzalez is on the roster and healthy, they have no real room for Smith. Carrying two first base exclusive players just doesn’t cut it.
Thankfully, they’re doing something about it. Smith is doing some homework down in Las Vegas, learning how to play the corner outfield.
By adding an outfielder’s glove to his collection, Smith is not only benefiting the team. He is also increasing his value to them and on the trade market.
First basemen are falling out of trees these days. The fact that Mark Reynolds settled on a minor league deal after the season started tells us a lot. He clobbered 30 home runs last year and finished the season with 97 RBI.
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It wasn’t as if he couldn’t do anything else either. Reynolds slashed a favorable .267/.352/.487 for the Colorado Rockies.
Smith isn’t nearly as powerful as Reynolds. He’s still a kid hoping to get his feet soaked instead of just wet. Thus far, Smith has amassed only 184 plate appearances between last season and this one. He’s hitting a few points below .200, with 9 home runs credited to his stat sheet.
The Mets could really use some outfield help. When Juan Lagares suffered his recent injury, they dipped into the minors looking for a replacement. Low and behold, there wasn’t a single outfielder left on the 40-man roster.
When the season began, this team had outfield depth pouring out of the team plane. They had five guys on the MLB roster who deserved regular playing time. The Lagares injury and the one to strike Yoenis Cespedes took away their options, giving the Mets an everyday outfield of Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Jay Bruce.
It’s not bad except for the fact that they all hit left-handed. Smith won’t help out much in this regard as he also swings from the left side.
In the early stages of learning to play the outfield, Smith has drawn positive reviews.
Time will tell whether or not he can learn his new positions. While the Mets probably won’t use him in the outfield too much unless they have to, it’s always good to have a multi-positional player around.
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Don’t expect to see Smith in the outfield at Citi Field anytime soon. He has a lot of learning left to do. Until the big league team needs him, class will stay in session down in Vegas.