The New York Mets are suddenly in much better shape if J.D. Davis can become a competent third baseman and Dominic Smith can look better in left field.
In 2020, the team may not have the same luxury. McNeil is penciled in as the team’s starting third baseman. He should see action at a few other spots, but when replacing him in the field, the team may lose some luster.
Fortunately, the team is ahead of the game in preparing for the season. As you’ll typically find in spring training camp, players are testing out new positions or familiar ones they didn’t succeed in the past. Among them, J.D. Davis is seeing action at the hot corner and Dominic Smith continues to get reps in as a left fielder.
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Just because a player is testing out a new position in camp doesn’t mean we’ll see him there. It’s planning ahead for injuries and attempting to find some versatility.
Imagine, though, if Davis becomes a competent third baseman or Smith looks like even an average left fielder. Suddenly, they become even more valuable to this ball club.
Many expect Davis to play a lot of left field in 2020. This is the spot where he found himself most in 2019. Viewed as a poor defender with no real natural position, it did seem like an appropriate spot to put him.
The story is much different for Smith. A true first baseman with good defensive skills, his playing time at that position will be limited due to the presence of Pete Alonso. This forces him to learn other positions with a bit more urgency.
The Mets have plenty of options in left field—especially when Yoenis Cespedes is healthy. At third base, they are far more limited.
Beyond that pair, the Mets would need to get a little more creative at the position. Davis did play some third base in 2019 with underwhelming results. Adding this to his arsenal would help the Mets out immediately and increase his trade value in the future if that’s something the front office is aiming for.
The same goes for Smith. The longtime trade candidate is limited due to his defensive abilities. Every team seems to have a first baseman plus another guy on the roster who can play the position in a pinch. Give Smith some outfield skills and he’s a little more intriguing to other squads.
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Davis and Smith should each play an important role in the Mets’ success in 2020. Adding defensive skills at positions they struggled at in 2019 would be invaluable to what they can offer this team.