Whatever Mets manager Luis Rojas has to do to keep Dominic Smith in the lineup – he’d better do it. The Mets’ purest hitter must play every day.
Here’s a fact. The Mets’ purest hitter is Dominic Smith.
With no disrespect, Jeff McNeil is an overachiever who works exceptionally hard to make himself one of the National League’s best hitters. But that sweet swing of Dominic Smith remains a pure natural talent most big-leaguers would die for.
Subject to trades more times than the fingers on our hands, at the end of the day Dominic Smith has survived the inept stewardship of “Quick Draw” Brodie Van Wagenen, a change in ownership that promised an upending of the Mets culture, as well as a challenge to use his athleticism to play a foreign position.
Forced to operate by the antiquated “no DH in the National League” rule, it behooves the Mets and Luis Rojas to find a permanent role for Smith on the team.
Given that Smith’s natural position is at first base and that position is occupied for the next ten years by Pete Alonso, the Mets’ only choice is to throw themselves all-in, claiming Dominic Smith as their left fielder – come hell or high water.
Once thought of as a risk in the outfield, Dominic Smith committed zero errors over 161 innings in the Mets 2020 outfield. He is (still) a work in progress – but that’s the point – there is progress, and it’s incremental even thru Spring Training today.
Clearly, though, the value of Dominic Smith will never be measured by his defense. He is David Ortiz, J.D. Martinez, and Nelson Cruz wrapped in an alien body that requires him to play a position for the Mets – or not at all.
When Major League Baseball (MLB) finally realizes its ineptitude and greed on the part of National League owners, the Mets and Dominic Smith will be freed from its current constraints, and baseball will reap the rewards of fans flocking to games to see one of the best hitters in the game.
Mets: How Good Is Dominic Smith
How good is Dominic Smith? Scan the table below to see just how good he’s been when placed among his peers:
These are one thru ten finishes in the top offense categories in all of baseball.
Dominic Smith also has a flair for the dramatic, as Mets fans witnessed on the final day of the 2020 season when he stepped to the plate for the first time in months to smack a game-winning home run to beat the Atlanta Braves, completing a three-game sweep of the NL Division winners. (video below)
Neither the game nor the home run changed anything in the standings, but it did leave a lasting impression on Mets management and their fans, solidifying that Dominic Smith is a keeper.
Some have it, some don’t, and some spend their entire career trying to find it. Dominic Smith has it, and it behooves the Mets to capitalize at any cost, even if it means sacrificing defense.
Mets Defense Is More Than A Dominic Smith Problem
Now, consider that the Mets have averaged a finish of 26th overall in defense from 2015-2018. Simply put, the team’s defense has been a major Achilles heel. This is a team stat and one that the Mets (admittedly) need to improve on.
Three errors in a weekend Spring Training game by Jeff McNeill does not negate the contribution he will bring to the Mets this year. It’s sloughed off as a bad day for the Mets and McNeil – as it should be.
So too, is the outcome of placing Dominic Smith as the everyday left-fielder in the Mets lineup. Given his work ethic, chances are he’ll continue to surprise.
An additional word to Luis Rojas. Pete Alonso is subject to streaks – good and bad. Your job is to monitor along with your coaches when you see the turn for the worse in Alonso – before it hits center mass by installing Smith at first base for a few days.
Either way, it’s just another way of saying the Mets need Dominic Smith in their lineup every day, every which they can.
If you don’t agree, check back when the 2021 All-Star team is chosen for 2021.