With Dominic Smith’s bat heating up, the New York Mets need to continue to find him more starts in left field.
Dominic Smith has shown a vast improvement at the plate for the New York Mets in 2019. In what has otherwise been a very mediocre season, Dom is showing some signs of becoming the player that tore through the minor league system and made his Major League debut at age 22.
However, there continues to be an overriding question: what will Smith’s role become this season and beyond?
Pete Alonso was on an even faster track through the farm system and has already shown that his power is translating to the big league level. So at least for the foreseeable future, Alonso has a hold on the job at first base.
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The answer becomes this: the Mets need to get Smith as much playing time as possible which will probably mean we’ll see more of a transition into more outfield starts.
Currently, Smith is nursing an injured thumb. Prior to that, he started back-to-back games in left against the Arizona Diamondbacks. If the Mets are going to commit to keeping him in the organization long-term then it’s time to see what Smith can do in the outfield and how he can adjust over a longer stretch.
There isn’t much to take from his defensive numbers this year in the outfield. Dom has one defensive run saved this season and four total chances. His defensive runs saved number last year in left field checked in at -5 in 90 innings (14 chances).
Unless a trade is in the works this summer, then the Mets need to get Smith as much experience in left as possible. Plus, his bat is playing too well to limit to just spot duty (.365/.467/.571 slash line through 75 plate appearances).
There are a lot of moving parts for the Mets especially with the imminent returns from the injured list of Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil, especially with the latter in McNeil which will possibly impact the amount of playing time Smith gets.
In Smith, though, the Mets have a young player who is making the necessary adjustments at the plate and the results are showing thus far. The team must commit to getting him as much run as possible, which will mean more playing time in the outfield.
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The other option in play is the team could commit to finding the best deal this summer for a player still with a year of team control and three subsequent years before he hits free agency.