After the Mets breakout, the Mets’ Dom Smith focused on defense

Port ST. LUCIE – Dominic Smith’s latest inspiration came from a recent Instagram live chat he hosted with a noted left fielder.

Barry Bonds disbanded Smith’s left-handed swing, but also impressed the Mets’ star with the importance of defense. Smith says that he assimilated every word.

“[Bonds] Gold was a Glove defender and had one of his mottos, ‘If I’m not getting any hits, then nobody is getting any hits today,’ Smith said on Thursday after the team workout. “So it’s just something you have to be proud of and you really have to focus.

“We haven’t sat down and talked about how to cover the ground or set myself up to be a plus defender out there, but I think the biggest thing I snatched away was theirs.” There was mentality and mentality and you got to work. “

The 25-year-old Smith is focusing on left field this spring. If universal DH is implemented, he can serve in that role or on a first-come basis, but for now he will have to take the approach that many of his starts will come in left field.

Domestic Smith improved his defense this winter
Dominic Smith received some advice from Barry Bonds.
Corey Sipkin

A natural first baseman, Smith has lost weight in recent seasons and has become more agile, but the transition to the outfield is difficult. He referred to a in Washington on the final weekend of last season in which he faced a fence, allowing an in-the-park homer for Andrew Stevenson. The Mets lost the game and were eliminated from the postseason, underlining the need to make plays defensively.

Smith said, “My playing in left field is not very good, but people forget that I landed in left field in the big leagues.” “I didn’t realize how difficult the ball was until I started playing the outfield in the big leagues, so it’s a learning curve, it’s a learning process, and I think I’m taking on that challenge And I’m getting better and better at it. I’m getting comfortable there and I know I can do it. I know that I can left field, right field, and I’m competitive and I need to Believe in ability. “

The Mets got their first real taste of Smith’s offensive abilities two years ago. His breakout came last season when he posted a slash line of .316 / .377 / .616 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 50 games, joining Michael Conforto in moving the lineup.

The ideal scenario for the Mets would include universal DH, allowing manager Luis Rojas to Brandon Nemo more regularly at Bailey Field, with Kevin Pilar or Albert Almora Jr. at the center. Smith and Pete Alonso could split first base and DH in that lineup.

But Smith has overcome a lot of adversities to this point, from weight loss to sleep apnea early in his major league career, which disrupted his concentration and he would like to overcome another hurdle.

“I really want to show the world an athletic player,” Smith said.

He is also interested to see what his numbers might be in a full season. Amid the struggles that sent him to the minor leagues, a stress fracture in his leg in 2019 and last year’s brief for an epidemic, Smith still hasn’t played a full season in the big leagues.

“But in my tenure over the years I have shown that I have power,” Smith said. “I know that I have power. I know I can hit 25-plus, 30-plus bombs, so that’s something I don’t even think about. Home runs are on the way. As long as I am squatting the baseball and hitting the ball vigorously, I know that I am making a lot of home runs.

Smith’s ascent has been extra special for manager Luis Rojas, who managed and saw potential at Low-A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie.

“I couldn’t be more proud of that,” Rojas said. “He’s still always joking and having fun, but he’s a big man right now. The way he has gone about it is the right way. He had his challenges, we all know. He definitely has Sey does things that try to block his path and he didn’t let that happen. I think he’s gone about it the right way and he’s the best way to go about those adversities in this game and life. is. “

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