The New York Mets’ commitment to youth is taking another step forward in the form of Dominic Smith being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. The 22-year-old is expected to take over at the first base following Jay Bruce’s trade to the Cleveland Indians earlier this week.
Smith arrives in New York with high expectations. He is the Mets’ No. 2 prospect and brings a powerful left-handed bat to the large confines of Citi Field.
The Mets are currently 51-61 and rank third in the NL Eastern Division, 16.5 games behind the first place Washington Nationals and 12 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot. They probably aren’t making the playoffs this year and those thinking Smith can get them there should temper their expectations.
Just the same, Smith gives the Mets and their fans something to look forward to for the future. 2018 should provide plenty of reasons for excitement if he performs well with the big league team.
Life in the minors
Smith, who is originally from the Los Angeles area, was drafted by the Mets with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft and shot his way up the prospect rankings starting last year. He hit .302 with 14 home runs and 91 RBI in 130 games for Double-A Binghamton and also posted an impressive OPS of .827.
Smith then played with the big league club in spring training this year before being assigned to AAA Las Vegas, where he hit an impressive .330 with 16 home runs and 76 RBI, his OPS jumping to .903.
Smith’s numbers alone suggest that Mets fans will expect results of the highest calibre over the rest of the season and in the years to come.
What to expect in MLB
There’s no denying that Smith has plenty of potential. He is small for a first baseman at just six feet tall, but his 239-pound frame provides great expectations for what he can do in the power department.
Smith is a .302 career hitter in the minors, but his BABIP there is an eye-popping .346. That suggests incredible luck aside from Smith’s natural hitting prowess.
The telling stat, however, is Smith’s isolated power. His career mark in that area is a measly .131, so he will not be blowing everyone away with a myriad number of extra-base hits. He’ll get doubles every so often, yes, but his bread and butter definitely appear to be singles and home runs above all else. That isn’t terrible, but those expecting 40 home run seasons are due for a wake-up call.
That means that there’s just as much chance of Dominic Smith being like Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell as there is of him turning out like former Houston Astros top first base prospect Jon Singleton. Singleton came up with the expectations that he would be a strong power hitter at the MLB level, but he wound up hitting .171 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in 114 games across 2014 and 2015.
That is because Singleton’s .310 BABIP in the minors was paired with an isolated power of just .198, and he couldn’t cut it at the MLB level. Today, at age 25, he plays for the Astros’ Double-A affiliate Corpus Christi and is hitting just .216 with 17 home runs.
That all being said, Smith will likely turn out much better than Singleton did, with a shorter swing and better contact ability. Just the same, combined with the pitcher-friendly Citi Field and his youth, Mets fans should not be too disappointed if he struggles out of the gate.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?