Few players across MLB’s landscape thrived more during the shortened 2020 season than New York Mets and their budding star Dominic Smith. The former first-round pick finally capitalized on his potential by becoming one of his team’s more feared and consistent hitters.
There are some unique circumstances surrounding Smith’s position and lineup spot in the new year. However, Mets’ fans should be thrilled to watch the young star continue to develop in 2021 and beyond.
What can we expect from Dom during this season?
The Mets award Dom with 500+ at-bats in 2021
This is a critical starting point. Most players who produced at the level Smith did during the 2020 campaign would be locks for 500 ABs. However, Smith currently finds himself at a major positional disadvantage.
The implementation of the 2020 universal DH was a massive benefit for the slugging first baseman. The expected abolishment of the position will, in turn, negatively affect Smith as much as any individual player in baseball.
Smith is a major-league caliber defender at first base. However, former Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso is expected to fill that role on an everyday basis. This leaves Smith in the unfortunate position of being forced to shift to left field.
While the former top prospect does have over 400 innings of experience at the position since his debut with the Mets, he has posted a disastrous -25.0 UZR/150 defensive metric over that span.
To add to the challenge, the expected addition of an everyday centerfielder will also cause 2020 starter Brandon Nimmo into a potential corner outfield platoon.
However, despite a number of hurdles, expect Smith to break through with a starter’s share of playing time. Why? Because his offensive ability to simple too potent to keep on the bench.