Mets power their way to a spring win, standing pat with the offense, and eyeing a rebound for Dominic Smith
The Mets slugged three home runs in their spring opener against the Nationals on Saturday
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets hit three home runs in the first inning in their spring opener against the Nationals on Saturday night, leading them to a 6-2 victory over Washington in West Palm Beach
Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, and Nick Plummer all clubbed first inning home runs Josh Walker threw three scoreless innings and Alex Claudio - a left-handed reliever in camp - threw a scoreless inning
The Mets optioned LHP Thomas Szapucki to minor league camp on Saturday - there are 58 players left in big league camp
The Mets are unlikely to trade any of Smith, JD Davis or Jeff McNeil ahead of opening day (SNY)
Next Game 🗓
The Mets open the home portion of their spring schedule today at Clover Park against the Cardinals at 1:10 PM. LHP David Peterson will get the start for New York while RHP Miles Mikolas gets the start for St. Louis.
Is a Dominic Smith renaissance in the works?📝
It’s relatively early, and yes, the results in spring training don’t matter most of the time.
But for Dominic Smith, it’s not most of the time. The results still may not matter too much, but the process that lead to the results certainly do.
On Thursday, Smith hit two home runs against now-teammate Max Scherzer in a sim game in the bowl at Clover Park. After the game, Scherzer came away with Smith’s ability to hit pitches he couldn’t hit historically against him.
Then on Saturday, Smith hit a first inning home run against Nationals RHP Josiah Gray, and later scorched a triple against RHP Will Harris. All told, Smith went 2-for-3 with a triple, homer and two RBI on the night.
Smith still has zero home runs on the year. It’s spring training. But the process he has employed to not just get himself healthy but to also get his swing back on track is netting him a positive result right now, which is important considering the road Smith has traveled over the last year.
In a report for Sports Illustrated, Smith told Pat Ragazzo his battle with an injured wrist and groin led to a torn labrum in his shoulder. So while rehabbing in the off-season, Smith went back to the drawing board and studied videos of baseball greats, from which he would look to emulate to an extent when his body would allow.
“I watched a lot of Big Papi [David Ortiz], I watched a lot of Miguel Cabrera, I watched a lot of Mike Trout,” Smith said, according to the New York Post. “Obviously they’re all different hitters, they all have different setups. But it’s certain little things they do that are why they’re successful. Just watching those hitters and how they move, and then adding what I do well and trying to move similar to those guys, I think that’s the reason why I’m able to do what I did.”
It’s not about the early home runs as much as it’s about Smith employing what he learned this past winter so far in camp. Of course, it remains to be seen if he can employ what he’s seen in a role in which he may or may not be playing everyday in major league conditions as well, and how he readjusts through the inevitable slumps every player endures over the long season. But Smith’s ability to recognize a need to adjust and rebound after a poor and injury-plagued 2021 demonstrates growth and maturity and a willingness to look beyond his past successes and failures. That alone could be the key to a renaissance in the Mets 2013 first-round draft choice.
Remember, Smith produced a .993 OPS with 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 50 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. That would project to 32 home run and 136 RBI over a full 162-game season. In an injury-shortened 2019 season, Smith produced an .881 OPS over 90 games.
It’s all in that sweet swing Smith has always possessed, and it seems like it’s merely a matter of Smith staying healthy for an entire season, not just enduring while the injuries mount and compound one another.
And certainly, playing more regularly at first base should serve to benefit Smith as well, his natural position.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Marlins are signing 2019 postseason star Jorge Soler to a three-year, $36 million contract with opt-outs (MLB.com)
The Blue Jays are still looking for a left-handed bat (Sportsnet)
The Dodgers are signing LHP Danny Duffy (Heyman)