The New York Mets have, for what it seems like the first time in a while, some depth at the major league level. Almost every position has a relevant, capable backup, and the bench has some pieces that have been effective everyday players in the past. Right now, for example, Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie don’t project as regulars.
One of those valuable bench pieces is Dominic Smith. A Mets prospect that ascended through the ranks at a very young age, Smith is now a legit major leaguer at 24 years old. He has enormous value to the team, being so young, talented, and with five additional seasons of team control.
A first baseman by trade, Smith’s path to regular playing time is blocked in the Mets at the position. Pete Alonso, the reigning home run champion and NL Rookie of the Year, currently holds down the fort there.
That’s why a couple of years ago, the Mets decided that Smith should see time in the outfield. The experiment, so far, hasn’t produced ideal results. He is not an embarrassment back there, but advanced metrics didn’t like him very much.
The Mets could have a very good problem in their hands
But now, at least according to new manager Luis Rojas, Smith is already making strides in left field.
“Dom’s got great defensive ability and I think he did a good job in the offseason,” Rojas said Wednesday to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
According to Rojas, “we talked about him working, movement and agility, and I saw him taking good steps off the bat [Wednesday] and being efficient in some routes there. I would like him to keep that versatility and keep throwing more in the outfield like he’s been doing.”
The Mets have Michael Conforto slated for regular right field duties and Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick sharing left field. J.D. Davis will presumably play left depending on Cespedes’ health. Smith could also see a start or two per week there.
He deserves some playing time after hitting .282/.355/.525 with a .368 wOBA and a 133 wRC+. He belted 11 home runs, scored 35 runs and drove in 25 in just 197 plate appearances.