For as long as we have known Dominic Smith, it’s hard to sometimes remember this is the first season he has surpassed 200 plate appearances. That’s right. Since debuting with the New York Mets in 2017, he has finished every season with anywhere from 149-199 trips to the plate.
This year, Smith is playing regularly and practically guaranteeing himself career-highs across the board in the accumulative numbers. The opportunity is there to show everyone what he can truly accomplish given regular playing time.
With the first half now over, Smith is about to embark on what will be his first true second half. A total of only 298 plate appearances in the second half, we haven’t seen the best of Smith post-All-Star Game.
Fortunately, we did see him play well in an unofficial second half in 2020 during the summer months. Though his numbers were higher than usual last season in August and September, there’s plenty of optimism surrounding the Mets left fielder and sometimes first baseman.
What we can expect from Dominic Smith’s first true second half with the Mets
Smith’s career totals in the second half leave a lot to be desired: .216/.265/.432 with 16 home runs in 298 plate appearances is not a great look. The home run total is actually surprisingly high when compared to how many more opportunities he has had in the first half. Smith just hasn’t hit for a very good average.
Smith remains a tough player to pinpoint because of how much of a rollercoaster his career has been. Sample size remains somewhat of an issue. Before 2020, he was a part-time player only first carving out a regular role with some high-quality play in 2019 before suffering a near-season-ending injury; he got one last at-bat to end the season.
Over the last three years, Smith has managed to hit well enough to raise his career totals above what an average player might do. In a full 162-game season, one might expect him to hit 20-22 home runs, drive in 70, and bat around .255-.260. These are the averages of his career and he appears to be right on track.
Although Smith’s season might feel like a bit of a downer at times given how well he played in 2020, this could be exactly what we get from him in the second half. And if that’s the case, is it so bad?
A potentially untapped awesome season could lie ahead
While Smith may be on track to hit career averages or near to it, his rough 2017 and 2018 campaigns did drag down his overall numbers. Recent statistics matter much more than what a developing player did several seasons ago.
Given this, I tend to think Smith will be better down the stretch in 2021.
There are multiple factors at play. The Mets are healthy (for now), the weather is warmer (proof in my electric bill), and sticky substances are a thing of the past (or so we think). Everything points to Smith potentially having a better second half than first. Better hitters around him, his own balls flying further, and less spin on the baseball should have Smith trending upward.
More important than what Smith may do is what he needs to. It’s not all on him to carry the offense through the second half of the season. One of many pieces we would like to see do a little more, success comes from a little more consistency, a bit more home run pop, and a few extra points on the batting average.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Smith can do all of this. In his mind, just pretend it’s 2020 all over again.