The New York Mets success last season was rooted behind some young talent. Robert Gsellman swooped in as an unlikely hero in the absence of All-Star Jacob deGrom. Citi field embraced the 23-year-old pitcher as he stepped into the spotlight.
Could the same headlines fit the 2017 season. One of the Mets' top prospects, Dominic Smith, gives an air of excitement. When the Mets drafted the first basemen in 2013, he was only 18 and thus, the underdog potential-star narrative began.
From 2013 to 2016, Smith has shown that he has developed a greater power bat as evident with his year to year improvement in home runs. Smith hit a mere 3 home runs in his first year to reaching a career high with 14 homers in 2016. What is most impressive is that although Smith becomes more of a power hitter, there is not much of a drop off in average and on base percentage. In 2016, despite hitting a career high in home runs, Smithmanaged to maintain a .302 with a .367 average which seems to be consistent with the earlier years of his career.
Smith seems to be developing a clutch bat as well as his RBI numbers have gone up each year in the minors. In 130 games, Smith had an impressive 91 RBI's. Mets fans can hope for Smith's production to translate onto the Major League level, which would be adding a much needed powerful bat to compliment Yoenis Céspedes and the rest of the Mets hitters.
According to reports, he's turning heads in Spring training after a significant offseason transformation. He lost 24 pounds after nearly hitting 260. Although it did not seem to affect his hitting, the difference is evident and allows his athleticism to peak. His approach toward the season is promising. Terry Collins expressed his support via Newsday.
"When you're young, because you've always had success, that's hard to do," Collins said. "Look at him today. He's lost nearly 30 pounds. He said 'I'm going to show them that I can do this', and I really respect that. That's tough to do when you're a young guy."