The 2020 season was a failure for the New York Mets as they failed to make the playoffs in the 60-game season despite 16 teams making it. They finished with a record of 26-34 despite high hopes entering the season. With all of the lows, there were definitely some positives that came out of the season. The biggest bright spot to me was the play of Dominic Smith.
Once Yoenis Cespedes disappeared and then proceeded to opt-out for the season, Smith was put into a full-time role, mainly splitting time at first base and left field. While getting a chance to play every day, Smith took full advantage of the opportunity he had. He slashed .316/.377/.616 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.
Smith had 32 extra-base hits in just 177 at-bats and seemed to be a prime candidate to be an all-star in 2021. He had an everyday spot in the lineup secured and was going to be a big bat in what was supposed to be a really formidable Mets lineup.
Unfortunately, things have not panned out for him this season.
Dominic Smith has been the only projected Mets Opening Day starter to remain off the IL this season. Yet, he’s been very underwhelming, to say the least.
He is slashing just .246/.307/.364 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI. He has 27 extra-base hits in 418 at-bats this season. Fewer than he had last season in over 200 more at-bats. While he has improved defensively to be only a slightly below-average defender in left field, his bat has taken a huge hit.
It’s been a very strange season for Smith. He has hit left-handed pitching very well, slashing .333/.389/.444 against lefties but only has two of his 11 home runs against them. Against righties, he’s slashing .213/.274/.332 with nine of his 11 home runs.
Recently hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum revealed that Smith has been dealing with a wrist injury and a groin injury. Is that the reason he has struggled so much? It’s hard to say. However, if he is healthy enough to remain off the IL, he should be producing.
I have no idea what’s wrong with Smith. Maybe he was only a productive player because of the juiced baseballs. Maybe he was just a one-year wonder. Maybe his bat has struggled because he’s getting accustomed to a new position? The Mets need 2020 Smith to produce and if they can’t have him back, they need to see what the offers are on the open market.
Down the stretch, the Mets have been riding the hot bats in the lineup. Jonathan Villar has taken the everyday role at third base and with the way he looked the last couple of games in Washington, Jeff McNeil likely will get a majority of the playing time in left field. Smith has really only been useful against lefties, so maybe he can get some at-bats against them.
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Dom was one of my favorite players the last couple of years but this year has been such a huge struggle, I’ve lost confidence in him especially against righties. Hopefully down the stretch he can find his stroke again and be the guy he was last year but with the way he’s played that seems unlikely.