MMs Top 25: #8 1B Dominic Smith

#8 1B Dominic Smith (LR#8)
Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 200 lb
Age: 20
Acquired: 2013 Rule IV Draft, 1st Round,  Junipero Serra HS (Gardena, CA)

2014: (A)   .271/.344/.338, 1 HR, 44 RBI, 2 SB (33%), 51 BB, 77 K
2013: (Rk) .301/.398/.439, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 5 SB (55%), 26 BB, 37 K

     I am extremely surprised in regards to the amount of people who are labeling Dom Smith a "bust" after his 2014 season. "He showed no power!," "his SLG was below his OBP," "he hit only .217 in August!" Those are just some of the comments received when you bring up Dominic Smith's name. It's a perfect case of focusing on singular statistics vs. the whole package as well as knee jerk reacting to one season. 

     As a high schooler, Smith only played in 27 games his senior season. In 2013, he almost doubled that to 51 games with Kingsport and in 2014, he doubled it again to 126 Savannah games. One of the added benefits of Short Season A Ball is that it makes this massive spike in playing time more gradual. Rather than going straight from 50 to 130 games, you make a stop at 75 with a short season club. However, the Mets front office agreed that Smith was too advanced for Brooklyn and sent him to dreaded Grayson stadium where power goes to die. 

      "He hit only .217 in August!" Your right, he also started slow, hitting only .212 in the month of April. Yet, despite those two horrid months, he still finished the year with a respectable .271 AVG on the year. Once Smith got going he showed scouts just how impressive his bat really is. Utilizing "the smoothest, cleanest left-handed swing in the draft class," according to scouts, Smith hit .305 across the months of May, June, and July. It has been reported that pure physical exhaustion was mostly to blame for his August numbers as he just wore down from the massive spike in playing time.Across the 136 games season, Smith played in 126 of them. The next closest was Pat Biondi with 115 of 136 games played. Surprise, surprise....he also suffered the same fate batting .190 in the month of August.

     "He showed no power!" Again....your right, only 1 HR all year long is paltry even for Grayson Stadium standards. However, it's not like he wasn't driving the ball. his 26 doubles were amongst the Top 20 hitters in the SAL in 2014. While the hard data to prove it out isn't tracked in the minors, I bet you this is a case of a HR to FB ratio being way below the league average. Maybe he wasn't strong enough to get it out of the big stadiums, maybe he kept hitting fences. If that's the case, Smith may have already solved it. Dom spent the off-season working out at the Barwis facility and is reported to have gained about 15 lbs of pure muscle. My gut feeling says you are going to be treated to a show this year if you live in Port St. Lucie.

     When you look at Dom Smith as a full package, there's not a ton of risk. The only question mark that surrounds him not "will he hit' but "how much power will he develop." This eliminates the AA prospect "wall" but he'll need to tap into the power to become an MLB contributor. No changes to his Ceiling/Floor this time around. 

Ceiling: 15-20 HR Solid OBP MLB 1B (Eric Hosmer)
Floor: No power Career AAA 1B.
Anticipated Assignment: (A+) Port St. Lucie starting 1B 


Thomas Brennan said...

Eventually he'll go from cavernous Savannah stadium (the worst offensive field for hitting in pro ball) as a teenager to shorted Citifield as a , stronger, bulked-up adult. Hopefully his top HR range will be 30.

By comparison, a pre-bulk Nimmo hit 2 homers in that league in about 475 at bats the prior year.

I read this AM that the Mets will make this their last year in Sauna-vannah and will move to a new stadium in So Carolina. Good news.

Mack Ade said...

Tom - One thing about Columbia, South Carolina... same humidity as Savannah

I met with Smith (and his Dad) the day before his season started last year and it was never his intention to try and out-hit Grayson Stadium. He had been pre-warned by the guys before him that just tried to gap the ball.

He was doing just fine until the dead of the heat hit in the late summer and it simply wore him out (first full season grind).

You learn a lot about this... and he has bulked up a little in the off-season.

My guess 2015 will bring around 10-12 home runs... that's all. He will always first be a doubles, OBP, OPS hitter

eraff said...

To young to label either way...most especially too young to be called a bust. Just competing at such a young age is a hopeful indicator.

As for the idea that bthere's "not a ton of risk"... I think that's wrong in a big way. When you pick at the top third of the first round, those picks have got to pay off big in the majority. When you pick very young guys, you are inherhently boom bust.

Combine that with the fact that Smithc plays a non-premium position...it's nice to have a gold glove 1b, but this isn't a blended success position, like SS, CF and Catcher--- This is BAT or Nothing!

Finally--Smith has NO fallback position with his Glove.

He's as Boom-Bust as it gets...there is no "Useable Player" here without a booming bat---doubles, homers....

I'm ok w that

Mack Ade said...

I wasn't disappointed with this pick... just surprised you would take a non-slugging, high school, first basebman with this early of a pick.

Thomas Brennan said...

Right on cue with the discussion of Dom Smith's power, he homers yesterday. Best counter-argument to the no-power critics I can think of - keep making those arguments, Mr. Smith.

Anonymous said...

Just a note about "only" playing 27 games High School.

I sincerely doubt that number comes close to the amount of games he played at that age. With elite travel and AAU teams out there, I'd bet he played closer to 80 games.

My son is an ordinary 10th grade, JV player. That's 25 games and a very short season. He'll also play rec league. Then there's Travel, which begins on Memorial Day. So that's another 40 games. Plus All-Stars tournaments and other tournaments that he'll participate in. And by no means is he an elite player, where clubs come calling. Again, my guess is Smith played 100 games as a HS senior. What happens in school athletics these days is secondary and increasingly irrelevant.

James Preller

Mack's Mets © 2012