Dominic Smith Should Be Mets 2022 First Baseman

With the signings of Mark Canha and Starling Marte, we can rest assured the days of Dominic Smith being an everyday left fielder are over. That is good for the team who needs better defense and for Smith who needs to return to being a first baseman.

Of course, the problem with that is Pete Alonso. By WAR, he was the best player on the Mets last season. That is partially because of his bat. He had a 134 OPS+ while hitting 37 homers. He has established himself as the best power hitter in Citi Field history, and he just might be the best power hitter ever produced by the Mets organization.

However, Alonso was more than just that. Alonso had a reputation as a bad fielder in the minors. He made significant strides to become just a poor fielding first baseman. In his first two seasons, he was a dreadful -5 OAA each year, and he combined for a terrible -4 DRS. By all measures,. he was a bad fielder at the position, albeit one who could stick due to his bat and ability to scoop balls.

That’s not Alonso anymore. He did the work to become a good first baseman. He had a 2 OAA and 5 DRS. He rated as a top 10 first baseman by OAA and top five by DRS. Anyway you look at it, he was a good first baseman, and he was an excellent hitter. However, that is only part of the equation.

After the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations, there is the expectation there will be a universal DH. If and when that comes, the Mets have to decide who should be the DH. There are some arguments for Robinson Cano, but who actually knows if he can hit without the PEDs and laying dormant for a season.

Notably, in 2020, the answer to that question was Alonso. It was not the initial plan, but for a myriad of reasons, it worked out that way. One of the biggest reasons why was Dominic Smith was just a better fielder at the position, and he was hitting.

Aside from his rookie season, he has put together good numbers at first. That includes his 2 DRS this season and 0 OAA. That was in a much shorter sample size than Alonso and with Smith spending time preparing to be the left fielder. For Smith, that’s part of the problem. Instead of honing his craft, he has been spending his time preparing to play out of position.

As we saw in 2020, when he is playing his natural position, he’s great. In that season, he was arguably the Mets best player. He hit, and he fielded. He was clutch and he did it in a very challenging time. The Mets need that player back.

At the moment, there is a discussion the Mets still need that bat. As we saw in 2020, Smith can very well be that bat. He just needs to be put in the best position to succeed. In left field, he was wasting energy trying to be good at a position he shouldn’t be playing. He also broke down cheating him of his ability to succeed at the plate.

That’s not to say Alonso should never play first. He needs to be kept up to speed. Injuries happen, and Smith could falter. However, when push comes to shove, in the event there is a universal DH, Smith should be the first baseman with Alonso at DH. In the end, if Smith is Smith, this will take the Mets to a whole new level, and it will help to further cement the Mets are true World Series contenders.

10 Replies to “Dominic Smith Should Be Mets 2022 First Baseman”

  1. Mike says:

    I could easily support this but Pete is 1B. I’m BIG fan of Dom but he’ll be gone and Peye will remain. For now Dom will DH 1B. If he hits he may stay Pete will be 1B DH. Love the column though.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think you’re right

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    In the absence of injury to Alonso, Dominic Smith shouldn’t be the every day 1st baseman, nor should Alonso be primary DH.

    Why?

    Alonso is Mets best slugger and run producer, doesn’t want to DH, had his least productive season when he DH’d a third of the time in 2020. He also plays a solid first base. Rather than elevating Dom’s slow bat and overexposure at the plate to accommodate his slick glove that really isn’t needed at first base, the priority should be playing the slugging Pete in the manner that best helps him and the team.

    If Dom isn’t traded, he joins Cano as left handed DH options and spot starters.

    Better yet, because Dom has slow bat and slow wheels, tends to gain weight during the season and is overweight to begin with on his 6’0″ frame by 25-30 pounds which is part of the problem, Mets may be better off trading him and signing an infield-outfield super utility/infield utility player or natural outfielder with average or above average speed. Maybe a reunion with Jonathon Villar who switch hits provided he doesn’t keep making outs on the basepaths. A reunion with Conforto is another option though I could see him fitting perfectly with the Red Sox who now need RF.

    There’s another option for Dom Smith and that is revamping his swing, quickening his bat and wheels, getting his weight down and keeping it where it’s best for his height….better for him, and better for the team. in the absence of emergency, the slow footed in the 33.2 percentile, shouldn’t be manning the outfield.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Basically, Alonso said he didn’t like DHing, so you made up a bunch of stuff to get him what he wants

  3. royhobbs7 says:

    Disagree with both replies. I have to agree with you, Mets Daddy. The Mets are simply a better team with both Alonso and Smith in the lineup. Moreover, although Alonso has improved his defense, Dom should be the primary 1B. Now, that doesn’t mean that Alonso does not receive any time at 1B; it means that Dom will be the first option at 1B.
    With that said, another middle-of-the-order hitter (perhaps Bryant) will probably be signed. I don’t see Dom getting traded. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nimmo traded (given his increased value after a solid 2021) in a package deal for a SP like Sean Manaea.

  4. David Klein says:

    Dom has been worth 1.4 war and has a career 104 wRC+ he’s freaking terrible and according to statcast Pete is the way better defender but you irrationally hate Pete.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Yes, clearly the takeaway here is I hate Alonso, a player I’ve oft lauded, and not that you irrationally despise Dom

  5. David Klein says:

    You wanted Alonso sent down when he had a mini slump in 2019 lol. Why not response to Dom’s rancid career numbers? Oh wait you can’t

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Sure, go with that instead of admitting the truth

  6. TheGhostofKelenic says:

    I love this guy’s counter arguments. He just gets mad and obstinate. Lol. Way to encourage discussion!

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