The New York Mets’ signing of Adrian Gonzalez blocked Dominic Smith from getting a chance to learn on the fly, but now Smith has that chance.
Sunday was a momentous day for the New York Mets. Not only did they snap an eight-game losing streak and avoid getting swept at home by the New York Yankees, but they also made a handful of roster moves as part of their celebration. We’re assuming that was the case, at least.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez secured the final out of what ended up being a 2-0 win, which will also be his final memory as a Met.
After tonight’s game we have given Adrián González his unconditional release. On Tuesday, we will designate catcher Jose Lobaton for assignment, will recall Dominic Smith from Las Vegas and will select the contract of Ty Kelly from Las Vegas. #Mets
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 11, 2018
While his first taste of big-league action at the end of 2017 didn’t go well — he slashed .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances — the 22-year-old was in line to get a majority of playing time at first base in 2018. Until the Mets signed Gonzalez, of course.
Smith’s immediate future looked all but determined upon reporting to Spring Training, and he indeed began the year in Triple-A. He’s hitting just .260/.343/.370 through 248 plate appearances with Las Vegas, but his current 11.3 percent walk rate would be the highest mark he’s posted since rookie ball in 2013 (12.1 percent).
Another positive sign in Smith’s peripheral stats comes from his batted-ball profile. He posted a 16.0 percent line-drive rate, 50.4 percent ground-ball rate, and 33.6 percent fly-ball rate in the bigs last season. Those numbers have improved to 26.2 percent, 37.5 percent, and 36.3 percent, respectively, so far in 2018 as a minor leaguer.
Why exactly is this Smith’s best chance to showcase that he can be part of New York’s future? We already touched on the obvious news about Gonzalez, but with Jay Bruce struggling, it’s not like he’d push his fellow left-handed hitter to the bench in many situations to play first base. Plus, reports have surfaced that the team isn’t considering a promotion at all this year for Double-A first baseman, Peter Alonso.
Let’s not get it twisted — Smith is still very young and could have multiple opportunities to prove himself if this one doesn’t work out. His latest call-up is important, though, because it seems like the opportunity to do so in a Mets uniform is already dwindling.