August 11, 2017
The Situation: The Mets are trying to sell that dealing top rental bats Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce off for marginal relief prospects was largely to create playing time for top first base prospect Dominic Smith. So here he is.
Background: The Mets drafted Smith with the 11th pick in the 2013 Draft out of a prep school near Los Angeles. A graduate of MLB’s Urban Youth Academy and RBI programs, Smith was taken five spots ahead of local rival and friend J.P. Crawford, also a top prospect in the Phillies system. Smith has progressed through the system a level at a time—the call to The Show is the first midseason promotion he’s received since entering full-season ball—putting up steady but generally unremarkable offensive performances along the way. He’s been ranked among the Mets top ten prospects since being drafted, peaking at fourth before the 2017 season.
Scouting: I described Smith in this year’s annual as a “square peg in a round hole,” by which I meant that the shape of his production is unlike what you’d expect from a late-2010s first baseman. Smith’s entire toolset is driven by his hit tool, and he very well could hit for a high enough average in the majors to make it all worthwhile. He has excellent barrel control and plate coverage, and he’s got good enough hands and bat speed to get it all going. His selectivity and feel for pitching has noticeably improved in the high-minors, and with it (and friendlier parks) has come greater offensive production despite the better quality of pitching. His power has always shown as plus in batting practice, and he’s started to pull the ball with authority more instead of poking it around to where they ain’t as he’s matured. He might never hit 20 homers in the majors, but with his advancements and the general power trends around the league, we aren’t as prepared to rule it out as we might’ve been when Smith was in the low-minors.