The Mets called up Dominic Smith on Monday after placing Seth Lugo on the paternity list. Smith was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse on May 31 for failing to perform when in the lineup.
Prior to being optioned, he was hitting .186 with no home runs in 101 plate appearances.
But his three-week stint in the minor leagues may have been just what he needed. Smith batted .266/.347/.438 with two home runs and a .785 OPS in 72 plate appearances over 15 games.
Smith, who told media multiple times this season his desire to play every day, had a chance to do just that and get his priorities and head straight while down in the minors.
“He went down and did what he was asked to do,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said in an interview on Monday following Smith rejoining the team. “We wanted to get him going because we knew he was capable of better.”
Now that he is back with the Mets, the time for a resurgence is now.
The 27-year-old first baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter needs to show up when his name gets called. Sure, I will acknowledge it is hard to establish a good rhythm at the plate when you’re not getting every day, live reps. Still, Smith needs to get his head straight and perform like the utility player everyone knows he can be.
The pressure is on for him, as other utility players on the roster have done their jobs when called upon this season. Take J.D. Davis, for example. He has seen limited time this season after the Mets signed Mark Canha (left field) and Eduardo Escobar (third base) in the offseason. Despite playing significantly less, he tends to be ready in the big moments when he gets called out of the dugout to pinch hit or if he serves as the team’s designated hitter for the game. In 133 at-bats, Davis is hitting .256 with two home runs and 14 RBI and has a .705 OPS.
Another prime example of players stepping up when needed is Luis Guillorme, who is batting .331 with one home run and a .804 OPS in 130 at-bats this season. Guillorme is known for putting the ball in play and placing the ball through the defensive holes, even if the opponents have the shift on against him, which is almost always.
Davis got hit hard on his left hand in Monday’s day game against the Miami Marlins in which New York won 6-0. There’s no saying how this will affect Davis, as he dealt with a similar injury last season and didn’t perform to his standard afterward. If Davis misses time, it will be prime time for Smith to put up or shut up on his playing time—or lack thereof. Smith needs to stay ready and have the mindset up the “next player up” mentality most of the team has this year. If he wants to win, he has to perform or he will get sent back down and miss out on what is already a special season for the Mets.
(Photo: Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
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