Getty Images

Dominic Smith is in The Best Shape of His Life

8 Comments

Mets first baseman Dominic Smith struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning late in the year. Then they went out and signed free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and suggested that Smith may start the season in Triple-A.

Smith can’t do anything about Adrian Gonzalez and he can’t make the Mets put him on the 25-man coming out of camp, but he can certainly address those conditioning concerns. Gentlemen, to the BSOHL-mobile!

“I feel more athletic than I’ve ever been,” Smith told [The New York Post] on Tuesday, a few hours after showing off his pop-up slide form. “In spring training, I’ve always looked the part, but as far as my mobility and loosening up some hips and being more flexible, more agile as an athlete, I feel like this is the most advanced I’ve been for sure in my career.”

It’s not just the flexibility. Ken Davidoff — well-aware that he’s writing a BSHOL story and astutely giving it the proper perspective — says that Smith has lost about 30 pounds and looks “far more compact and limber.” While sometimes these stories have a whiff of BS to them, this one is pretty legit. Smith seems to genuinely have committed himself this past offseason.

That’s good news. Smith is only 22. He has every chance to be the Mets’ first baseman of the future. It may take Adrian Gonzalez faltering in his twilight years to get a chance to prove it, but in the meantime he’s taking control of the parts of the equation he can control.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

Getty Images
3 Comments

This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.