New York Mets Player Evaluations: First Base/Left Field Dominic Smith

New Yor k Mets, Dominic Smith

There once was a time where the New York Mets opted to keep Dominic Smith on the bench during the early part of the 2020 season. With Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes clogging potential lineup spots, they could not find playing time for him. Thankfully, Cespedes decided to abandon the team, and Smith became the Mets’ most productive offensive player.

The 2019 season was a sneak preview of what Smith was truly capable of at the big league level. In 2020, he put it all together, hitting .316/.377/.616 with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 21 doubles. Smith’s ability to drive in runs made him a staple in the fourth spot of the order. He hit .333 w/RISP and put the same batting average up with two outs and RISP.

Much like his teammate, Michael Conforto, Smith benefitted from a decrease in launch angle to produce more line drives. Smith’s average launch angle dropped from 15.1 degrees last year to 10.8. This allowed Smith to have a 46.7% hard-hit rate, 13.3% barrel rate, and have 39.3% of his batted balls result in line drives.

Complete Hitter

All of those factors equal a hitter who will put himself in a position to hit for average and for power. Smith also became a hitter who forced pitchers to get him out with the fastball. He batted .388 and .351 on breaking balls and offspeed pitches, respectively. Smith had his lowest average and slugging percentage against the fastball, but it was not enough for pitchers to survive by only throwing the hard stuff.

What made Smith such a successful hitter against the secondary pitches is his ability to let it travel in the zone. Smith’s ability to keep his weight back allowed his barrel to remain in the zone to make solid contact no matter how early or late he was. When a hitter does that, he gives himself the best chance to succeed because he can hit the ball in multiple different locations with that one swing.

Defensive Questions

With the two power-hitting first basemen, Smith and Alonso, it is tough to fit them in the lineup. Smith saw some time in left field and was an expected liability there. He had a -5 fielding runs above average and a negative ultimate zone rating. The numbers are much better at first base, and Smith played his natural position more often during the season’s final month. This was when Alonso had issues with his fielding, and the Mets wanted better outfield defense.

It is impossible to mention Smith’s year without mentioning his leadership on and off the field. He helped lead a walk-off between the Mets and Marlins following the protest going on throughout sports. Smith also spilled his emotions, telling his stories and opinions on what was going on in the country. He is one of the most colorful and genuine personalities on the Mets and one of the best teammates they could ask for.

Smith had a fringe-MVP caliber year, would have been an All-Star, and was named a finalist for the Hank Aaron award. Among NL leaders, he finished second in doubles (21), fourth in slugging percentage (.616), fourth in OPS (.993), tied for fifth in RBIs (42), and eighth in batting average (.316). The toughest part for the Mets comes in finding a position for him to settle into for the 2021 season.

 

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 80 (70), Cannot get much better than what he produced.

Power: 70 (70), Legitimate power to all fields, and it comes with 40+ double capability.

Run: 30 (30), Not fast but certainly quicker than you would expect.

Arm: 45 (45), Great for first base, but the accuracy surpassed the arm strength in the outfield.

Field: 50 (55), Fields what he gets to in the outfield but has gold glove capability at first base.

Overall: 80 (75), It was an unbelievable season, but doing it for a full year is the final test in his growth.

New York Mets: The Peterson/Chirinos Battery Lead Mets To 3-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

Who would have thought the combination of David Peterson and Robinson Chirinos would team up with the 2020 season started? Both guys took different paths to the New York Mets roster but made the difference in their 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. The win kept their small playoff hopes still alive as they sit 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the final playoff spot.

While Peterson did not strike out batters at the same rate as his last start, he was still very effective. In his final start of the season, he held the Nationals to one run over seven innings and struck out four. Peterson used his slider to put away the Nats hitters and make the longest start of his career. He will finish the season with a very impressive 3.44 ERA, very deserving of a spot in next year’s rotation.

Rob and Dom Show

While the Mets only pushed across three runs on the night but they made them count. Chirinos drove in all three with a hustle single and a two-run home run. All of his RBI came off Patrick Corbin, and the home run was his first of the season.

Dominic Smith continued his hot hitting with three more hits, including two more double to up his season total to 21. It broke the Mets record for the most doubles through a 60 game stretch, and he still has three more games to add to that total. Robinson Cano also added two hits, including his first bunt single since 2013.

Edwin Diaz picked up his sixth save of the season after allowing one run in the ninth inning. He bent but did not break as he worked around two hits in the ninth to shut the door.

Rick Porcello faces off against former teammate Max Scherzer for the second game of the series on Friday. It is another 6:05 p.m. ET start from Nationals Park.

New York Mets: 8-5 Loss Allows Tampa Bay Rays to Clinch the AL East

New York Mets, Michael Wacha

The New York Mets had no choice but to win every remaining game to give themselves a shot at the postseason, but the Tampa Bay Rays had a division to win. They fired off four home runs, two from Randy Arozarena in their 8-5 win, clinching the American League Eastern division for the first time since 2010.

Michael Wacha was making his final start of the season and likely his last in a Met uniform. He started strong by striking out the side in the first inning. This episode is one we have seen from Wacha before as the first inning does not translate to the rest of his start.

While his pitch count was low, he could not avoid the home run. He allowed a solo homer to Joey Wendle and Arozarena’s first home run of the game. Arozarena’s home run gave the Rays the lead in the sixth, and they never looked back from there. Wacha made it through six innings, allowing four runs on six hits, only needing 66 pitches.

Glasnow Glows

Tyler Glasnow came into his final start of the season, ranking fifth in strikeouts for the American League. He showed off his strikeouts stuff against the Mets offense with eight over six innings and holding the Mets to two runs. Glasnow made hitters look foolish with his fastball/curve combination. When the Mets struck against him, they did so with home runs from Andres Gimenez and Dominic Smith.

The Mets had some life when down six in the ninth. They tallied three runs, two coming from a Todd Frazier home run. It was no enough for the Mets to climb back, and the Rays clinched the division at Citi Field.

The Mets head to the road as they finish off their season with a four-game road trip against the Washington Nationals. Two lefties matchup as David Peterson faces Patrick Corbin in the first game from Nationals Park. The first pitch is at 6:05 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Peterson’s 10 Strikeouts Highlight 7-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

After getting three straight starters lasted no more than two innings, David Peterson had the tall task of stopping the slump the New York Mets starting rotation are in. Peterson went far and above the call of duty striking out a career-high 10 Atlanta Braves in the Mets 7-2 victory.

Peterson lived up to his top prospect status in this big start. He held the Braves to one run over the six innings he pitched. His slider was one of the major reasons his strikeouts were up, and it was impressive to see him shut down a lineup that scored 15 runs the previous night.

In the seventh and eighth, Miguel Castro, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson combined to keep the lead into the bottom of the eighth. It allowed them to add some insurance runs late in the game.

Patience is Key

Braves starter Ian Anderson held hitters to a .130 average but allowed ten walks over 21 innings. They paid close attention to their scouting report, drawing three straight walks to begin the bottom of the first. Robinson Cano got the Mets on the board with a two-run single to the opposite field to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

The only other run the Mets got off Anderson was an RBI single from Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning. Depsite Anderson struggles, Atlanta’s bullpen held the Mets silent until Chris Martin entered in the eighth. He allowed back to back home runs to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano to being the inning. Brandon Nimmo finished it off with a two-run single to extend the Mets lead to 7-2.

It was a win the Mets needed, as all of the games have become must-win games. The rubber game of the series comes down to Kyle Wright and Rick Porcello. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: 10 Run Fourth Inning, Gives deGrom Plenty in 18-1 Win

Worrying about the New York Mets providing Jacob deGrom run support seems to be a thing of the past. Their 18-run effort gave more than enough for their two-time Cy Young winner in the 18-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

deGrom did not have his best command but put up deGrom-like numbers. He threw six innings, holding the Blue Jays to one run on three hits with nine strikeouts. deGrom continues to make a strong case for a third consecutive Cy Young award as his ERA dropped to 1.67.

Erasmo Ramirez picked up the rare three-inning save in relief of deGrom. Ramirez held the Jays offense scoreless on two hits and only threw 30 pitches in the effort. His ERA is 1.13 through his first eight innings with the Mets.

Relentless Offense

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s RBI single in the first inning was the only bright spot for the Blue Jays. After that, the Mets got things going with four runs in the third inning, highlighted by a Michael Conforto three-run home run.

The offense went bezerk in the fourth inning with ten runs. J.D. Davis started things off with an RBI fielders choice, then Dominic Smith hit a grand slam to break the game open to 9-1. Wilson Ramos contributed a three-run double, making it 12-1. The final two runs of the inning came in on a Conforto single, and Davis double.

Every starter in the lineup recorded a hit other than Pete Alonso. McNeil, Ramos, and Robinson Cano led the way with their three hits. 8 of the Mets 19 hits were for extra bases, and those same numbers (8-for-19) are how they hit with runners in scoring position.

The Mets hope to put up another similar offensive output with Seth Lugo on the mound for the second game of the series. Toronto has not named their starter for game two, but game time is 6:37 p.m. ET from Buffalo.

 

New York Mets: Segura Haunts the Mets Again in 9-8 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets made a miraculous comeback from 6-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn a 7-6 lead. Unfortunately, they could not keep the lead, and a Jean Segura two-run home run in the tenth inning spoiled a must-win game for the Mets.

Miguel Castro continued to make general manager Brodie Van Wagenen look like a clueless mess. His prized acquisition gave up the home run to Segura, and it was confusing for Castro to be in the game. Edwin Diaz threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning on only 12 pitches, but manager Luis Rojas opted to go with Castro instead.

Ramirez Saves Bullpen

David Peterson struggled through two innings and allowed five runs. He needed 70 pitches to get through the start and had no command of anything he was throwing. Peterson’s shaky control has shown during his previous starts, but this was his worst.

Erasmo Ramirez made his Mets debut in long relief of Peterson. He gave the Mets a fighting chance and saved the bullpen by throwing five innings and his only run coming off a J.T. Realmuto home run. Ramirez only needed 54 pitches, and the outing certainly gives the Mets another starting rotation option.

Offense Clicks Again

The Mets offense did all they could after Zack Wheeler shut them down in the first four innings. They bunched together three runs in the fifth coming on RBI doubles from Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith. When Wheeler surprisingly came out after six innings and 84 pitches, the Mets jumped all over the Phillies bullpen in a four-run seventh.

A Didi Gregorius error got the Mets within two runs at 6-4 and allowed the Jeff McNeil to bat with two runners on base. McNeil channeled his power for the second consecutive game as his three-run home run gave the Mets a 7-6 lead and completed their comeback. The lead did not stick as Jeurys Familia gave up the lead in the following half-inning.

Despite the loss, the Mets showed their resiliency once again. After scoring a run in the 10th with a Brandon Nimmo single, J.D. Davis came within five feet of a walk-off home run. They split the four-game series with the Phillies, but they played great baseball for the final three games.

Andres Gimenez also continued to shine on both sides of the game. He recorded two more hits and played sparkling defense at shortstop. With a lefty on the mound for their first game against the Baltimore Orioles, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas continues to run Gimenez out there.

That lefty for the O’s is John Means, and for the Mets, they send the struggling Michael Wacha. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets: deGrom Holds Phils, Offense Does The Rest in 14-1 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets had their best all-around win of the season as they ride seven strong innings from Jacob deGrom to a 7-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Sunday’s matchup set up as a pitchers duel between deGrom and Aaron Nola, but deGrom showed why he is the best pitcher in the game.

deGrom held the Phillies to one run over seven innings with 12 strikeouts. Out of his 108 pitches, 35 of them were swing and misses. deGrom pitched with two different game plans, using his fastball predominantly in the first three innings then shifting to his slider. The lone Phillies run came on an Andrew Knapp home run in the second inning.

Aaron Nola did not have anywhere near the success he had during his last outing against the Mets. His defense hurt him at times, but he allowed six runs (three earned) in 5.1 innings pitched. Nola surprisingly struck out 10, despite allowing two home runs. He also allowed seven hits to left-handed batters after allowing only six hits to them all season.

Scattered Scoring

The Mets offense showed how potent they could be in their 14 run, 17 hit, 12 extra-base hit, and four home run effort. Seven different Mets recorded hits, and out of those, four of them had multiple-hit games. They scored in six out of eight innings, capping it off with a seven-run eighth inning.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto were anchors at the top of the order. They had three hits each, including a home run for Nimmo and two doubles for Conforto. Dominic Smith had four hits, including three doubles and three RBIs. Pete Alonso homered twice for two of his three hits, all of them hit at high velocities.

It was the laugher of a game the Mets have searched for, and their offense also went 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position. After a tough streak of losses, the Mets now have wins in four out of five games and are just three games under the .500 mark.

David Peterson hopes to get the Mets their third win and final win of the series. He faces former Met Zack Wheeler, who is making his first start as a visitor at Citi Field. The first pitch is another 1:10 p.m. start.

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (9/1-9/2)

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The New York Mets face the Baltimore Orioles in a short two-game series to begin the final month of the season. Both teams come into Tuesday’s matchup with 15 wins and sit in fourth place in their respective decisions. In 36 prior matchups, the Mets won 23 of the games.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (9/1) @ 7:35 p.m. ET: Ariel Jurado (Mets debut) vs. Asher Wojciechowski (1-3, 5.13 ERA)

Wednesday (9/2) @ 4:05 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

The Mets had their worst four-game streak, dropping four straight games that they all had the opportunity to win. All the losses were truly team efforts as every part of the roster and coaching staff contributed to the defeats. Luckily for the Mets, the Orioles are just as mediocre this season.

New Faces in New Places

Ariel Jurado makes his Mets debut in the first game of the series as he is one of three former Texas Rangers joining the roster. The addition of Robinson Chirinos and Todd Frazier are very questionable decisions, especially the weak-hitting Chrinios. The Mets have not announced the roster moves to add them to the roster but assumingly, J.D. Davis is heading to the injured list and Ali Sanchez is heading back to the alternate site.

Former Oriole, Miguel Castro is joining the Mets as well to help the beleaguered Mets bullpen. Castro is a favorite for people in the analytics department and serves as another middle reliever. They will need his high strikeout stuff with Dellin Betances on the injured list.

Robinson Cano and Dominic Smith have spearheaded the Mets offense over the last week. Despite wanting to avoid back-to-back lefties, it will be interesting to see if manager Luis Rojas opts to bunch them together in the middle of the order. If not, putting Pete Alonso between them should help him get out of his slump. He will get more strikes since pitchers do not want to face Smith with runners on base.

Matchup to Look Out For

Robinson Cano Career at Camden Yards: .356/.405/.567 (128-for-360), 31 Doubles, 15 Home Runs

Dominic Smith 2020 Stats in Away Games: .352/.446/.722 (19-for-54), 8 Doubles, 4 Home Runs

Pete Alonso 2020 Stats Batting Fourth: .200/.273/.500 (4-for-20), 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts