Mike Freire - Where Is Dominic Smith?

PC - Reese Kaplan
There has been some chatter of late concerning the current status of former first base prospect Dominic Smith and most of it has been negative, which shouldn't be a surprise with the way this season has turned out.  Heck, there is a rumor that they are going to change the name of the well known child's game "Where Is Waldo" to "Where is Dominic" (I kid, I kid).

Joking aside, it has been quite a "fall from grace" for DS when you consider where he started and where he is now.

In case you don't remember, DS was drafted by the Mets with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft as a coveted 18 year old first base prospect out of Los Angeles, CA.  He was viewed by some as an above average defensive player that was also projected to be proficient with the bat, which is a nice combination to have on your team (like a Keith Hernandez clone).  It is safe to say that things haven't quite worked out as planned, so far. 

It should be said that there are quite a few players that were picked in this draft that have not made it to the majors as of this email, so the lack of instant success should not be seen as an indictment, per se.  However, this was also the same draft that produced the following successful major league players (all of them were picked after the Mets' selection);

SS - Tim Anderson
OF - Aaron Judge (sorry, Tom)
P - Sean Manaea
P - Corey Knebel

Steering the conversation back to DS, he started his Mets' career right after the draft with the Gulf Coast Mets which was appropriate for his age and experience (High School).  He subsequently rose through the minor league system and eventually made his Mets' debut during the 2017 season as a 22 year old, so his development was slow and steady for lack of a better phrase.

In six minor league seasons (to include time at AAA during the 2018 season), he has compiled 2,511 plate appearances, which works out to roughly four full seasons of production if we use 600 plate appearances as a "full season".  While doing so, his minor league statistics look like this;

.298/.364/.427  (.791 OPS)

10.5 HR/85.25 RBI/3 SB and 78.00 R

The listed numbers don't scream MONSTER PROSPECT, but they are fairly solid and quite reminiscent of his aforementioned comparison player.  Since that time period, DS had a 183 plate appearance "cup of coffee" in 2017, followed by 74 plate appearances this year (mixed in with time at AAA).  Cover your eyes.......here are his major league statistics, to date;

257 plate appearances (43% of one season, or a very small sample size)

.193/.249/.374  (.623 OPS)

10 HR/27 RBI/0 SB and 23 R

-2.3 WAR (yes, that is a negative value)

So, what the heck happened and where is the real Dominic Smith?  I know that the major leagues are more difficult then the minor leagues, but that is quite a drop in production!  His statistics are so bad (like something you would scrape off your shoe), that his contributions have actually COST the Mets over two wins when compared to a replacement level player.

You can argue "small sample size" or that he hasn't been given a legitimate shot at regular playing time and you would have a point.  But, you HAVE to be a bit concerned about his production, or lack thereof.   Even his defense has slipped from what was advertised, to the point that the team has tried to teach him to play in the outfield when there is a glaring need for a first baseman on the roster. This isn't even touching on his rumored "refusal to work hard" (i.e. get in shape) along with the potential "attitude" problems that he has displayed that have effectively landed him in Mickey's dog house.

As I stated in the comments section of a different article yesterday, DS reminds me of a few kids that I grew up with that were extremely talented at various sports and/or academics.  As such, they didn't have to try very hard to be successful and they usually did just enough to get by while relying on their exceptional abilities.  However, as they aged, the requirements and the competition got tougher and they began to struggle.  Unfortunately, they lacked the ability to work hard and improve since they never had to do so and they ultimately failed to meet expectations.

While it is too early to definitively label DS a "bust", do you think he will end up like the folks in the previous paragraph?


Tom Brennan said...

Mike, the Yanks have a Judge while our guy is still trying to qualify for the jury.

See my comment from Fangraphs in Feb 2017 on my article today - Fangraphs had addressed Smith. Some real criticisms.

It is up to him to prove himself. The future $$ is so huge, that in itself should be all the motivation one would need.

Meanwhile, Alonso may be struggling, but he hit a titanic blast in the Futures game - I recommend googling that and watching it. I saw that and thought, "THAT is my future 1B."

I will leave you with this - if you were a GM and could pick either Jeff McNeil or Dom Smith, who would you take? I know my answer.

Mack Ade said...

Mike -

Thanks for stepping in for me this morning. I was unable to post up my 'From The Desk' post to meet deadline this morning and Mike was there to fill in, post in hand.

I stand by my current plan for this guy.

1. Play Alonso in AAA through August.

2. Play Flores on 1B through August.

3. Keep Smith in Queens for backup 1B and OF through August.

The pay is good.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'd send him to AAA to play OF and inceincrbith his versatility and trade potential.

Mack Ade said...

Everybody needs to inceinrbith things

Mike Freire said...

No worries, Mack........and Tom, I would take McNeil in a heartbeat over Dom.

I think Dom's ceiling is James Loney (not Keith Hernandez) and that is if he works his butt off and takes the game seriously moving forward.

Tom Brennan said...

Mike, we can only hope now that Smith can be as good as Duda!

Anonymous said...

On the younger NY Mets players

Although not nearly the most disappointing grouping on this team, the younger Mets players have at least shown serious moments of brilliance, to the delight of all the NY Mets fans. It's like I said yesterday actually, they are simply and obviously a bit raw yet with their talent, and so it is still difficult to get an honest read on them until they have been up here for a longer stretch of time.

Dominic Smith showed well earlier on after his call-up. After a faux pas in left field, and then a bunt attempt gone awry (mainly because of having done so few bunts coming up through the minors) he kind of has been struggling to regain himself at the plate I have noticed. It happens. He's still a green rook. Green rooks can do this. I like everyone here's idea of maybe giving him more playing time in mainly left field, just to see who Dominic Smith really is.

Shortstop Amed Rosario has refound his footing as of late, showing some more consistency batting. And his defense is gelling as well. he still pretty much a rook too.

We forget that Wilmer Flores is as young as he still is. To me, Wilmer is as close to being a starter (right now) as he has ever been since becoming a NY Met at age fifteen, I think it was. However, there still are times when he is reaching for mainly outside pitches and looking somewhat off balance with his swing. I think that he can cure this and if he does, it will solidify his only batting glitch that I can see with his mechanics at the plate. He needs to become just a tad more selective at the plate, and wait for his pitch. I might also suggest roller blading for Wilmer, because it could help him (like many others) build up his ankles and lower legs a little bit more, which could help him over a long baseball career.

Brandon Nimmo many people thought could have been an All Star player this season. To me, he is a big part of the excitement with this team and I am delighted for him being here. Not totally unlike Wilmer and Rosario, his only glitch batting (a very common one to players new to this league) is he too must learn to lay off the low pitches not in his wheelhouse. Once he has adjusted this and has gained more experience handling lefty starters, he will be that All Star outfielder we all cannot wait to see him be. He's that good. And his smile is infectious to say the very least. Brandon is a five tool player after all.

I wish I could have been!

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly, Manny Machado is now a Milwaukee Brewer. Oh wait a second, Manny is a Dodger? Oh gee, what a total surprise right? Was that not telegraphed or what?

Anyway, the trade deadline runs through July 31st anyway. Many are still talking about a NY Yankees and NY Mets trade, or a Boston Red Sox and NY Mets trade. So I studied these two trade possibilities a little bit more.

After some review, I still came to the same conclusion and as a result still slightly favor the Red Sox and Mets trade more. I simply think that if a Mets starter (of worth and merit) were to be included in either trade, that the Red Sox have a slight edge on what could be coming back.

With the Yankees not adding Manny Machado yesterday, I just don't see them anxious to move any of their team's best young players. Would you? Their younsters of course being Gleyber and Andujar, so second and third base is covered like a blanket for decades to come in the Bronx.

The Yankees could offer from a grouping of pitchers maybe something including Sheffield, Adams or even German, and then maybe an outfielder like a Ryan McBroom. But just how good either Brandon Drury or Clint Frazier could be at the MLB level, is still a bit sketchy for me.

On the other hand, the Red Sox may have a couple of more intriguing possibilities to offer. My favorite grouping is probably lefty starter Jalen Beeks, lefty reliever Bobby Poyner, and third baseman (with right handed power) Michael Chavis. If this were to become an eight player swap for instance, then I might like to see veteran reliever Brandon Workman included in this deal.

It will be fun to see what transpires with it all this trade season.

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

I wish you would write for us.

Question: Is there past bad ju-ju between you and I?

Mack's Mets © 2012