Whether Dominic Smith is starting at first base or waiting for his name to get called, he always seems to have a smile on his face. Smith has the impossible job of backing up former Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso. He could likely find a starting spot on another team, but the New York Mets value what he brings off the bench.
Potentially, Smith can play a vital role this year. His season was cut short last year due to an injury. However, he managed to come back for the end of the regular season and hit a walk-off home run in the team’s final game and the Atlanta Braves.
The plan is for the designated hitter to be used in the National League. Dominic Smith fits the category of a player for that spot. He doesn’t have a position with Alonso as the team anchor at first base. Smith could potentially get four at-bats a game as a designated hitter and impact the team.
He also allows the Mets to rest Alonso and let Smith play the field. Smith has always been a player known for his glove at first base. He can also bring much experience as a pinch-hitter in games when he does not start.
Cespedes Impact on Smith
One of the big questions this season will be what they get out of Yoenis Cespedes. If he is not going to be able to play the field, it will take at-bats away from Smith. However, if the Mets can plug Cespedes out into the outfield, manager Luis Rojas can get creative with his team. Smith would likely not face a lefty starting pitcher, which could be days for Cespedes to designated hitter. They will also probably like to allow Robinson Cano to get some off days from the field.
If Cespedes is unable to play left field, the Mets will suffer greatly. The Mets have tried Smith in the outfield, but that hasn’t worked out. J.D. Davis would likely see an increased role, while also backing up at third base.
If Dominic Smith is going to get playing time, it will be fun to see where the Mets place him in the lineup. They already have three left-handed batters in the order in Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and Cano. The top four in the batting order are pretty set with Brandon Nimmo and McNeil in the first two spots, followed by Alonso and Conforto.
Then it gets interesting to see if Smith bats sixth after potentially Cespedes or falls to eighth in the order behind someone like Wilson Ramos. With the new three batter minimum for relief pitchers, the Mets will almost certainly spread their left-handed bats around the order.
There shouldn’t be any occasion other than the top two spots where it is not lefty-righty. This will make the Mets lineup as deep as it has been in years if Smith bats eighth, and they can use a second leadoff hitter in Amed Rosario at the ninth spot. It also makes their bench very strong in these types of games with possibly having Davis and Jed Lowrie available tp pinch-hit late.
Whether Smith ends up having a long career with the Mets, he already has made an impact. Come to the trade deadline, Smith is always able to get moved if the Mets acquire someone big. While he is still young, Smith has MLB experience, which other teams value. Regardless, he has a chance to go under the radar this year. If things fall his way he potentially can have a big year. Assuming Smith stays healthy and if his name is called.
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