The 2018 season was a roller coaster for Dominic Smith. Although Smith struggled during his first few cracks at the major league level, the 23 year old showed a glimpse of his potential following his September call up this season. On the year, he batted just .224 with 5 home runs in 143 at bats.
Smith entered camp 30 pounds lighter this spring, but almost instantly shot himself in the foot by showing up late on the day of the first Grapefruit League game. A lingering quad issue limited his playing time during Spring Training, and Smith found himself starting the season in Las Vegas, having lost the first base job to Adrian Gonzalez.
After Gonzalez’s release in June, Smith got his first extended look of the season, and the results were less than stellar. In his first 28 games on the season, Smith collected only 13 hits, striking out 25 times, and walked just once.
Due to a weirdly constructed roster, the Mets, and in an attempt to find Smith at bats, experimented with him in left field. The experiment was a complete disaster, with Smith looking absolutely lost at times over his 13 appearances in the outfield. The nadir of his time in left field came on August 21st when, in a tie game in the 13th inning, Smith collided with a clearly under the pop up and calling for it Amed Rosario, letting the game winning run score.
Smith was called up for good on September 3rd, and looked considerably better at the plate in September, hitting .258 with a .760 OPS and 3 home runs. While his defense still was less than advertised, Smith showed more consistency at the plate, and flashed skills that might play at the Major League level.
However, the pending arrival of first base prospect Peter Alonso does not bode well for Smith, who has proved to be a poor choice to play anywhere other than first, and has not hit enough to bring significant value to the position. Between the need to find Jay Bruce playing time, an overcrowded outfield, and far better offensive options, Smith looks like the odd man out for the Mets.
Whether they begin the season with him at first, to allow Alonso to pass the ‘Super Two’ deadline, keep him in the minors, or attempt to move him, it seems likely that Smith never lives up to the potential that you hope a first round draft pick can produce.