Dom Smith’s bat making stronger claim for Mets’ everyday first baseman duties

Dominic Smith (Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the happiest, fun-loving guys in baseball has also been one of the league’s best hitters at the start of the 2020 season. 

New York Mets utility man extraordinaire, part-time designated hitter, and full-time cheerleader, Dominic Smith, has been scorching hot at the plate. So much, in fact, that his production has forced his club to play him every day after initially entering the 2020 campaign as its No. 1 bench bat. 

Thanks to the opt-out of Yoenis Cespedes, it’s been easier to find ways to get Smith’s bat into the lineup, where he’s been the Mets’ most productive hitter.

Just take a look at his ranks amongst the Mets and all qualified MLB batters:

  • .311 batting average (3rd on Mets)
  • 6 home runs (1st on Mets)
  • 20 RBI (1st on Mets, T-8th in MLB)
  • .738 slugging % (1st on Mets, 4th in MLB)
  • 1.135 On-base plus slugging % (OPS) (1st on Mets, 4th in MLB)
  • 8 doubles (1st on Mets, T-7th in MLB)
  • 209 Adjusted OPS+ (1st on Mets, 3rd in MLB)- Adjusted OPS+ is OPS adjusted for the park and the league in which the player played, but not for fielding position. An OPS+ of 100 is defined to be the league average. An OPS+ of 150 or more is excellent.
  • 14 extra-base hits (1st on Mets, T-6th in MLB)
  • .816 offensive win% (1st on Mets, 8th in MLB)- Offensive win percentage is the theoretical winning percentage of a team comprising nine of the same player.
  • 10.2 at-bats per home run (1st on Mets, 8th in MLB)

Needless to say, that’s too valuable of a bat to take a backseat to anyone at the moment, even if Pete Alonso is the starting first baseman or Jeff McNeil is the starting left fielder. 

The Mets’ best course of action might be restoring Smith full-time at his regular position at first while taking full advantage of the DH and putting Alonso there.

Smith has the better glove compared to Alonso, and defense has become a priority of Mets manager Luis Rojas in recent weeks after calamities in the field cost the team a few early-season games. 

Restoring him at first-base full-time and giving him the occasional off day in the field by swapping him with Alonso would allow the Mets to keep both players fresh by keeping them in the lineup as much as possible for the final half of the year.

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