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.