MMO Fan Shot: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Smith

An MMO Fan Shot by Cooper Thomas

Having been a die-hard Mets fan in as long I can remember, I can tell you that this is generally the most frustrating time of year. Scouring forums online for any hint of the offseason plans ahead-  re-checking daily, hourly, and even every gosh darn minute hoping that a “BIG SIGNING” had gone through.

Whether our boys in Blue & Orange ended the season on a high note, or not, the anxiety of a long drawn out 6 months without baseball had me feeling like a junkie without his fix. Since joining MMO, I have come to realize that I am not alone it this mild state of insanity that my friends, ex-lovers, or even family are confused by.

With this odd, but inevitable lull between the end of the World Series and when the hot stove season begins to take off, I can’t help but wonder what happens to us as Mets fans. For many, this wave of cynicism takes over. I am just as guilty of it as the rest of you.

Which is what brings me to the purpose of this article – Dominic Smith.

This guy has been the rope between two combative groups of Mets fans in a verbal tug of war with minimal logic being spouted from the hater’s side. Our obvious desire for anything to happen Mets related has put us up in arms over a young first baseman from Gardena, California.  He has been thrown up against a wall by many due to a sub-par performance in a 2-month stint at the HIGHEST level of professional baseball on the planet.

All this fuss for a boy who has recently turned 22. Most of us were still getting hammered in our senior years of college, but we hold Smith to the standard of 40-year-old, well-disciplined business professional… Come one boys. It has become a bit of a witch-hunt driven by a few lousy beat-reporters and a congregation of misinformed, bored and grumpy fans.

With all this said, I thought it would be worthwhile to outline the points brought up by both sides in an attempt to make a bit more sense of it all.

Weaknesses / Disappointments

Overweight

We can all agree that his weight needs to be managed. This could be the difference between him having a fantastic career and one that ends with knee replacements by the time he is 30.  It has been mentioned that maintaining a strict diet and workout regime is more difficult as a minor leaguer. Nonetheless, this is an issue.

Below Average performance in MLB/ Bad D

Smith was touted during his rise through the minors as a high avg., line driving hitting, gold glove fielding first baseman. He was none of the above in his 2-month stint with the Mets. He was not as advertised.

High strikeout rate 

Smith struck out 49 times in 180 plate appearances.

Objective Realities

Slow Starter after each promotion 

Smith has shown a propensity to be a slow starter with each promotion. Having been promoted to the highest level of baseball in the world, it is a fair assumption that the learning curve would be the sharpest.

With that in mind, I took a deeper look into the 2 months after Dom’s promotion.

As seen through his stats above, there was a dramatic increase in his stats across the board in his 2nd month in the MLB. It is only an assumption that his 3rd month would be even better, but fair assumption based on his professional history.

Played the longest season of his career 

Smith played in 163 games last year. His next closest was in 2016, where he played 130 games. That is a 25 percent jump. Tough to believe that wouldn’t be physically strenuous for even the fittest athletes.

Lack of Veteran Support / Overall Team Negativity 

Smith was called up onto a team that had

  • Fell well short of pre-season expectations
  • Riddled with injuries
  • Half of the starting roster was traded
  • Team lacked veteran leadership
  • Uncertainty about management/ coaching staff going into offseason
  • One of the worst rotations/ bullpens in Mets history

These factors would have played a role in anyone’s development.

Pros / Strengths

  • Excellent Minor League Stats
  • Always 2-3 years younger than league average since being drafted
  • Showed excellent HR and RBI numbers in MLB stint (9 hrs, 25 RBIs in 50 games)
  • BA with runners on (+.050 higher than average)
  • He’s young and homegrown
  • Has excellent chemistry with Rosario
  • Top 100 prospect over the last 2-3 years (depending on ranking source)

Keeping in mind all that has been said above, I can’t help but think that the Dom is far down on the pecking order of what we should be concerned about.

Does he need to be conscious of his weight issues? Yes.

Does he need to improve to on his performance?  Yes.

With our roster currently set as is, do I believe that signing/ trading for a first baseman outside of the organization is the smartest move for both the short term and long term? All this whilst giving up on a young, highly touted first baseman with low-cost control over the next 5 seasons? With the number of holes and questions marks surrounding the 25-man roster?

Absolutely f#$%^ing not. My vote is for Dom. I believe in the kid. 

It is my hope that this provokes a logical, and well-articulated argument about who should be manning 1st next season for the Mets. While I am Pro-Dom, I welcome other opinions backed by facts. I look forward to hearing what the world of MMO readers has to say.

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This Fan Shot was written and contributed to MMO by reader and die-hard Mets fan Cooper Thomas. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Send your article to GetMetsmerized@aol.com or use this Contact Form. Ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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