Mets’ youngster Dominic Smith has found himself in the spotlight once again. Friday, the 22-year old found himself on the wrong side of an embarrassing incident. The rookie was benched for being tardy to a team meeting before Friday’s first Spring Training game. Mickey Callaway had these remarks regarding the incident.
“We have expectations for guys,” Callaway said. “And if they don’t meet that expectation, we have to hold them accountable. And that’s why Dom wasn’t in the lineup today. … He’s trying to win a job, and it’s unfortunate.”
This is very unfortunate. Smith has been the Mets’ touted offensive prospect, his elite offensive ability has been seen at every level of the minor leagues. The first baseman failed to show this in 2017, he posted an average of .198 while hitting nine homers and driving in 26 runs. This resulted in a WAR of -1.2.
These stats varied greatly from the numbers that the Mets saw Smith put up through his time in the minor leagues. The slugger has not hit under .300 since he was 19. He was hyped as being a skilled slugger who could hit for average, field, and who possessed the body type to generate future power. The 2017 Mets saw a first baseman that was out of shape, possessed a slow swing and who lacked some needed skills in the field.
This clearly was a learning experience for the youngster as he quickly made it his goal to get into shape over the winter. He did just this as he is noticeably thinner, but his 2017 campaign drove the Mets to acquire veteran first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez.
Smith addressed the incident on Saturday.
“We had a private conversation and we both came to a clear understanding,” Smith said. “Like I said, stuff like that can’t happen. But it was yesterday, it’s in the past and today’s a new day.”
Could this motivate Smith to win the first base job? Or could this be the nail in the coffin, signaling that Smith will start the season in Triple-A? Only time will tell. Being a fan, it would be nice to see the youngster smooth out his bumpy career path. Smith has a nice swing and has shown an ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Smith can be a pretty big upgrade from years past, all he has to do is bring his Minor League production to the Major League level.
I would not be surprised if he comes out of the gate strong and snatches the starting job from Gonzalez. Smith started out his Spring Training on a good note Saturday, singling in his first at-bat and scoring twice. Smith is capable of having a great spring, time will tell if this will be good enough for him to win the job.