Brilliant? Not quite. Serviceable? More than anyone expected. The Dominic Smith in left field adventure has continued this season for the New York Mets with much different results. Statistically, he has been above average in multiple areas.
He’s not about to win a Gold Glove. However, Smith has proven this year he can give the Mets multiple innings at his unnatural position without them worrying each time the ball is hit to him. If this can continue, Smith gives the Mets the potential to piece together an even better team once the DH decides to return to the National League.
Dominic Smith’s success in left field opens up more doors for the Mets in future seasons
Let’s start with the most obvious direction the Mets can go if Smith continues to play well in left field and we get the DH. They could still move Pete Alonso the DH role and look to add a player with better defensive skills at the position.
There is an abundance of first basemen in baseball right now. It wouldn’t be hard to find a guy, even a part-timer, to become a core part of this franchise.
Alternatively, the Mets could always use the added DH to place a defensive dud at the spot strictly to get his bat in the lineup. Aging veterans could fit this role as well. A bit handcuffed at the moment from signing players like this, the more trust we have in Smith as an outfielder could lead to the Mets doing something we didn’t think they need more of: bat-first guys who always leave their gloves at home.
What about internal options for the Mets?
The Mets actually don’t have to do much to benefit from Smith’s left field success. Internally, there are a few moves to make.
J.D. Davis’ future with the team remains questionable due to his own lackluster defensive performances. A third baseman this year (when healthy), moving him to the DH spot or across the diamond to become the first baseman is one option. I don’t believe Davis’ defensive days are completely over. This does give the Mets a chance to explore the possibility of maybe starting Luis Guillorme at third base or going out and acquiring someone else for the hot corner.
One final internal consideration, turning Smith into a good left fielder provides them with a failsafe even if he does move to first base full-time. If Billy McKinney or anyone else becomes a more permanent fixture with the ball club but then falls flat, there’s a clear move the team can make to rectify it; just move Smith back into left field.
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I’m sure there are plenty of benefits to seeing a first baseman become a left fielder with (in a Borat voice) great success! It’s not always an easy flip to make. Smith, at least through the early portion of the 2021 season, seems to have figured it out.