The Phillies called up their prime first base prospect to face the Mets this series. Shortly after, the Mets countered with their own top first base prospect.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced Thursday that Dominic Smith will called up and make his major league debut Friday against the Phillies. The announcement came hours after the Phillies announced Rhys Hoskins would make his ML debut against the Mets on Thursday.
The Mets cleared the decks to make room for Smith, their No. 2 prospect, in recent weeks. They traded first baseman Lucas Duda to the Rays on July 27, and traded Jay Bruce—who was filling in at first base after the Duda trade—to the Indians on Wednesday.
The Mets drafted Smith No. 13 overall in the 2013 draft expecting him to develop into a plus hitter with plus power. While the plus hitter projection largely held true, Smith's projected power has yet to develop. Smith possesses a smooth, natural lefthanded swing with a direct bat path that keeps him hitting down through the ball. He drives the ball hard but does not consistently elevate, although he made strides this year with a career-high 16 home runs and .509 slugging percentage at Triple-A Las Vegas, a noted hitters paradise.
Some evaluators who saw him this year still believe Smith, who only just turned 22 in June, has a chance to hit for more power as he gets older and stronger because of his innate hitting ability. He rarely strikes out, has feel for the barrel, and has progressively increased his power output at each step up the minor league ladder. He further made steps this year identifying the pitches he can drive and learning when to be more aggressive with his swing.
Smith is hefty at 6-foot, 239 pounds but moves around the bag well at first base and has soft hands that allow him to pick balls out of the dirt. His range is adequate but not great.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Smith largely projects to hit .290-.300 in the big leagues while playing solid defense at first base. The only question is his power output. Most evaluators believe he will be limited to 10-15 home runs in the majors, while others think there is a chance he can eventually get to 20-plus. His power is still largely potential over present ability though, so in the immediate future a high-average, low-power output is to be expected of Smith.