Dominic Smith is having a hard time making it into the New York Mets starting lineup. Have they given up on him already?
The once prized prospect has not played often since his most recent call-up. By the looks of it, the Mets aren’t willing to give him a chance.
Not long ago, it looked like Smith had first base locked up in Queens. He was one of the franchise’s best minor leaguers. Struggles in 2017 and again this season at both AAA and the majors have put him in the backseat. Even with Peter Alonso struggling in AAA at the moment, it seems as if the Mets are leaning toward him more than Smith.
In some ways, Smith was already at a bit of a disadvantage. Though built like a first baseman due to genetics and lifestyle choice, he doesn’t play like one.
Smith isn’t a typical home run hitter. When he’s at his best, he hits with average power and plays to contact. Oddly, he has been the opposite in the major leagues. He showed some good power in 2017 but has yet to hit above .200 on a regular basis.
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When the Mets moved Smith into the outfield it looked like he had a shot at growing into a new niche. Smith is far more valuable to them and himself as a man capable of taking the field beyond first base. Until he hits more consistently, the team that employs him doesn’t look ready to give him the opportunity to learn the outfield.
The perfect opportunity to play Smith every day is there. Todd Frazier‘s injury opens up third base for Wilmer Flores. Moving him across the diamond and putting Smith at first base regularly should provide him with the necessary at-bats to show everyone what he can do.
Instead of this, the Mets are giving Jose Reyes more playing time. I’m not sure anyone agrees with this decision. It’s faulty and far too shortsighted for me to handle.
With the way they’ve handled him lately, I now view Smith as someone the Mets could move in a trade. A deal that could perhaps get them a guy in a similar situation elsewhere could make sense. They have no need for a first baseman but could use upgrades elsewhere.
At 23, I don’t see why another team wouldn’t give Smith the chance. He’s less expensive than ever before and might just develop into the kind of player we thought he could grow into a few years ago.
Until we see otherwise, you can find Smith in the doghouse.