Smith will have to compete for the Mets' starting job at first base in spring training, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. "He didn't win it in September, let's put it that way," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
This is an odd thing to say about a cornerstone player who was just getting his feet wet in the majors at the end of last season as a 22-year-old. He hit .220/.304/.450 with six home runs and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate in 100 at-bats from Sept. 1 through Oct. 1. It is understandable that the Mets want to find at-bats for Wilmer Flores, who is coming off a year when he slashed .271/.307/.488 with 18 home runs in 362 plate appearances, but third base and second base seem like better places to try to work him in. As Puma went on to say, this could be a motivational tactic aimed at getting Smith to show up to camp in great shape. He is still the clear leading candidate to open the year as the Mets' starting first baseman, but we now know that he is not a lock to open the year in that role.
Smith is not in the lineup against the Braves on Wednesday, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports.
Smith will head to the bench after going 0-for-3 with a walk during Tuesday's affair, in favor of Kevin Plawecki, who will man first base during the series finale. Over the last 10 games, Smith is hitting just .086/.135/.086 with three singles and 14 strikeouts.
Smith is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Cubs.
Smith heads to the bench following 11 straight starts, hitting .262/.326/.476 with two home runs and eight RBI during that span. In his place, Matt Reynolds gets the nod at first base.
It was the rookie's second homer of the month and fifth since his debut, and Smith is riding a five-game hit streak. The accompanying numbers, however, aren't pretty, as he's .210/.257/.390 in his first taste of big-league action (113 plate appearances). His leash will remain long as the Mets let him adjust to a full-time big-league role he'll occupy to start next season.
Smith went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run during Saturday's loss to Houston.
Smith went 3-for-25 with three singles through seven games since his last homer, and even with Saturday's long fly, the 22-year-old first baseman still owns a discouraging .183/.213/.366 slash line through 75 plate appearances in the majors. While his long-term upside remains high, Smith probably shouldn't be counted on in many seasonal settings at this stage of the game.
|10/1/2017 vs Philadelphia|
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|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2014||AFX-Savannah Sand Gnats||126||461||52||125||26||1||1||44||51||77||5||4||.344||.338||.271|
|2015||AFA-St. Lucie Mets||118||456||58||139||33||0||6||79||35||75||2||1||.354||.417||.305|