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Mets Exit Interview: Dominic Smith finally breaks through

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 26: Dominic Smith #22 of the New York Mets is congratulated after he scored on a single by Tomas Nido against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park on June 26, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 26: Dominic Smith #22 of the New York Mets is congratulated after he scored on a single by Tomas Nido against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park on June 26, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 25: Dominic Smith #22 of the New York Mets hits a solo home run in the top of the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 25, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

What Went Wrong

At the start of the 2019 season, Smith seemed like a promising young first baseman. The only problem being that he would have to compete for the starting job with non-other than rookie sensation and probable rookie of the year, Pete Alonso.

Though scouts deemed his defensive ability questionable, Alonso proved to be a clutch hitter with a big bat, earning the starting role. Smith was able to serve as a valuable bat off the bench, but an everyday lineup position is obviously what every major league player aims for.

But in my opinion, Smith having to compete against Alonso was not completely detrimental. The two pushed each other to work harder and improve. They are both ultimately better players for it.

The main issue for Smith during the 2019 season was his injury. Towards the end of July, Smith landed on the IL with a stress reaction in his left foot. He was in the midst of perhaps a breakout season, strengthening his fielding ability in left when he was not taking over for Alonso at first.

Smith had been establishing himself as a high average hitter before his injury as well as a reliable fielder, often replacing Alonso at first for defensive purposes. He also served as a tough out off the bench.

Fortunately, there was a mass outpouring of support for Smith from the fans as well as the creation of an incredible t-shirt featuring the fun-loving first baseman on a scooter, elevating his injured foot.

But it is safe to say that the injury definitely belongs in the “what went wrong” category cutting short what could have been a great season for the young player.

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