3) Former NY Mets prospect who has fallen from grace: Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith is a first baseman who was selected by the Mets with the 11th overall pick of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. Turning down a scholarship from USC, Smith signed with the Mets for a $2.6 million signing bonus. Dominic Smith got off to a somewhat slow start in the minor leagues. While hitting over .300, he showed little power at the plate at several stops at single A in 2014-2015. He began to find the pop in his bat in 2016 by delivering 14 HRs with 91 RBIs and a .302 BA for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. This trend continued in 2017 as he hit 18 HRs with 76 RBIs and a .330 BA. Smith was ranked as the organization’s #4 prospect in 2013, the #10 prospect in 2015, and then the #2 prospect in both 2016 and 2017 by MLB.com.
Dominic Smith spent parts of the next three seasons commuting between the Mets and the minor leagues, collecting 25 HRs with 62 RBIs in 528 Abs. Smith began to establish himself as a full time major league player in 2020. Pete Alonzo had solidified his place at first base after winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award, so Dominic began to play quite a bit of left field. In the Covid-19 shortened season, Smith hit 10 HRs with 45 RBIs and a .319 BA in only 199 ABs. Smith was one of the finalists for the Hank Aaron Award for slugging percentage and finished thirteenth in the National League MVP Award voting.
However, the 2021 season began what can only be described as a regression. He began the season as the regular left fielder but his stats of 11HRs with 58 RBIs and a .244 BA in almost 500 ABs would not be enough to keep his job and the Mets began to look elsewhere. He began the 2022 season hitting only .194 with no HRs and was sent down to the minors. On November 18, 2022, the Mets declined to offer Smith a contract and he became a free agent. On January 4, 2023, Smith signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Washington Nationals. He is presently hitting .232 with no HRs for Washington as a part time player. Dominic Smith still believes that if he could play everyday, he will get his stroke back and show his value to the team.
Scouts try their best to project what they see in raw talent into possible future stars. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes they select Reggie Jackson. A far greater number of times they select Steve Chilcott. You can hope, you can dream, but truly you just never know. To say that it might be virtually unpredictable would be an understatement.