The trade of Lucas Duda last week created a vacancy at first base for the New York Mets. The team has been playing Wilmer Flores there for the time being, but he won’t be there for the rest of the season. At some point, the Mets will bring their second best prospect up to take over at first. That man is first baseman Dominic Smith, and he certainly looks up to the challenge. Smith is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.
The Pacific Coast League has been a very friendly environment for Smith, who has hit .341 with 15 homers and 69 RBI’s in his first 104 games for the Las Vegas 51’s. While Smith may not possess as much power as the departed Duda, he does offer more line drive ability and has drawn rave reviews as a defender. Duda was underrated as a defender, but Smith should still offer a nice upgrade at the position due to his excellent ability to pick the ball. Smith even drew rave reviews from Mets’ second baseman Neil Walker, who recently rehabbed with the 51’s, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. Walker described Smith by saying “he looks like a man hitting. In the field, he has great hands, able to pick the ball really well and moves well enough.”
It appears to be only a matter of time before Smith reaches the major leagues, perhaps with the Mets holding off on his debut for a few weeks to juice ticket sales. Either way, Smith has earned his shot at the big league level and the Mets will give him every chance to succeed. With the Mets firmly in evaluation mode for 2018, Smith will get a nice long audition to show he is worthy of being the starting first baseman next season. Smith’s debut should provide a bit of juice for the franchise, which is going to miss the playoffs for the first time in three years, and hopefully he will be able to establish himself as a regular going forward.