Dom Smith had an awesome 2020 for the Mets.
He slashed .316/.377/.616/.993. He hit 10 homers, 21 doubles, drove in 42 runs, and scored 27. His OPS+ was 168, his wRC+ was 166, and he tallied 1.8 WAR in the shortened season. He was blossoming into the player the Mets hoped he would, and he finished 13th in MVP voting.
Mets fans were excited to see what he would do over a full season in 2021. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily.
He slashed .244/./304/.363/.667. He hit 11 homers, 20 doubles, drove in 58 runs, and scored 43. His OPS+ was 84, his wRC+ was 86, and his WAR was -0.5. It was a disappointing season.
So what changed?
He really, really struggled against breaking balls and offspeed pitches this year. In 2020, he hit .388 against breaking balls and .351 against offspeed pitches. This season, he hit .208 and .215, respectively. His slugging percentage was way down too. In 2020 he slugged .653 against breaking balls and .622 against offspeed pitches. This season, he slugged .331 and .385, respectively. Pitchers picked up on this and started throwing him more breaking balls, they threw him about 25% breaking balls in 2020 and that rose to about 31% this year.
He also posted the worst defensive numbers of his career so far. He spent most of his time (about 859 innings) playing out of position in left field, he had a -5 DRS and -9 OAA. He didn’t get much time at his natural position of first base (only about 70 innings) with Pete Alonso playing there, but Smith put up +2 DRS and 0 OAA.
In 2022, Smith needs to make the adjustment to hit breaking balls and offspeed pitches better. If he can do that, he is capable of being an everyday player for this team. If he can make the adjustment, and if the universal DH is implemented, I would put Smith at first since he’s the better defender, and have Alonso DH.