My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game.
I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.
Let’s get started.
#13 – 1B – Dominic Smith – 19-years old – 6-0, 185 – L/L
Drafted 1st Round 2013 – Junipero Serra HS (CA)
2013 – K/Port – GCL: 173-AB, .301/.398/.439/837, 3-HR, 26-RBI
2014 – Sav - 461-AB, .271/.344/.338/683, 1-HR, 44-RBI
What they said about Smith at the time of his draft –
From Keith Law: - Smith is one of the best pure hitters in the high school class, showing a smooth left-handed swing with power and a plus glove at first base. When he keeps his weight back, his swing is outstanding, with great balance through contact and good hip rotation to generate power from his legs. He has quick, strong wrists, with a projectable body that should lead to very hard contact when he fills out in three or four years. He can drift forward at the plate too early, getting his weight out over his front side before he's started his hands, losing power and struggling to control the bat head behind him. His stride is long and early, which may be part of the reason for his trouble staying back but is an easy fix in pro ball. Smith is an excellent defender at first with a 70 arm, hitting 92 off the mound the one time I saw him pitch, albeit with a rough delivery. He doesn't show a lot of energy on the field, which has positive aspects (he's a confident, relaxed hitter) and negative ones (some scouts have questioned the effort level, myself included), but there are no serious concerns about his makeup. In this draft, with so few potential impact bats, he's a clear top 20 talent.
Adam Rubin @AdamRubinESPN - Paul DePodesta said Smith is "special defender" at first base, so no intention to move him. But he can play right field, too.
Churchill - Smith offers a strong hit tool and future power and the Mets clearly went best player rather than need or an attempt to save a significant amount of cash under MLB's recommended bonus for later picks. This could also signify the club's long-term plans at the big-league level, possibly including an active free-agent winter.
greg schaum greg schaum @ Greg_Schaum - Dom Smith might end up being the best bat In this draft. High character guy who can swing it, pick it, and throw it.
Aaron Fitt Aaron Fitt @ aaronfitt - Every SoCal scout I know loves Dominic Smith -- really special makeup, special swing, plus defender. # Mets fans will love him.
Jessica Quiroli Jessica Quiroli - 1B Dominic Smith was all over the place on draft boards. Awesome pick for the Mets. # MLBDraft
John Manuel John Manuel @ johnmanuelba - Had a scout comp Dom Smith to Adrian Gonzalez. that would be pretty sweet value at No. 11 # Mets # mlbdraft
Jim Callis Jim Callis @ jimcallisBA - As you just heard on @ MLBNetwork, I think # Mets got a very nice bat at 11 in Dominic Smith. # mlbdraft
JIM BOWDEN @ JimBowdenESPNxm - Dominick Smith bat reminds me of David Ortiz when he was a kid and his defense reminds me of Adrian Gonzalez
Well, as you can read, everybody loved this kid on draft day and I can tell you after meeting him, he will be a big fan favorite. This guy has a more positive personality than Curtis Granderson. He started wonderfully in 2013, hitting over .300 for K-Port/GCL after the draft.
He did only one thing wrong in 2014 and it wasn’t his fault. He played the entire full season for Savannah in a terrible humid climate, especially in July-August. He hit .320 in May, .301 in June, and .292 in July, but ‘the grind’ caught up .217 in August.
Folks, this is a real time bat and he’s only 19-years old.
The sky’s the limit.
My guess is he’s bulking up in the off-season and will open the season for St. Lucie.
The slow road would get him to Queens in 2008 and it will be the Mets decision it they someday replace a 30+ home run hitter like Lucas Duda with a Keith Hernandez-type first baseman like Smith looks to be.
Sounds like a win-win to me.