Mets Might Be Only Team Who Can’t Figure Out Dominic Smith Playing Time
If you’ve been paying attention, Dominic Smith has been great in camp, and Luis Rojas has been talking about how the team needs to find him playing time. This being a conundrum for the Mets is almost comical.
Look, we all get Pete Alonso is the first baseman. Also due to a myriad of factors, Yoenis Cespedes is the DH. That does impact Smith’s playing time opportunities as he should be at first with Alonso at DH, but the Mets aren’t going to just write off Cespedes. It’s a justifiable stance.
That said, if the Mets actually paid attention to the numbers and respective talent levels, the answer as to where Smith should play is painstakingly obvious.
At the moment, the Mets have written in J.D. Davis as the starting left fielder in pen, wrote over it in Sharpee, and then laminated it. If you look at it, this is a mistake.
In 2019, Davis was terrible in left. He was a Major League worst -11 DRS out of any left fielder who played at least 500 innings. His -7 OAA ranked 138th in the Majors. His success rate of 78% was among the worst in baseball as well. It’s by no means hyperbole to suggest he is the worst defensive outfielder in all of baseball.
Now, Smith isn’t great in left by any means. Ideally speaking, he shouldn’t be out there everyday. That said, he’s a significantly better left field option than Davis.
In 2019, Smith was a -3 OAA. He had a 86% success rate. He also had a -2 DRS. Make no mistake here, Smith is not a good left fielder. However, even with his not being a good left fielder, he’s significantly better than Davis with a very comparable arm.
While it seems incredulous to say, Smith in left is a significantly better option than Davis. Of course, we know the Mets eschew defense for offense despite the data standing in direct opposition to that approach.
Last year, Davis had a 136 wRC+ and a 138 OPS+. Smith had a 133 wRC+ and a 134 OPS+. The difference between their offense production last year was negligible.
In total, Smith gives you the same level of offensive production as Davis, and he hit better in the clutch last year. He’s a significantly better defender in left field. Looking at this, the question needs to be asked how in the world are the Mets perplexed over how to get Smith more playing time?
Really, the answer is obvious to anyone who has bothered to check the numbers. It’s more obvious when you look at talent, age, and who gives you the best chance to win.
If the Mets need to figure out what to do with Smith, they should play him everyday in left field. It’s the only rational choice.