Welcome to a 2013 Draft Review, where I take a look back at the draft picks from this season and the progress they’ve made so far…
With the 11th pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Dominic Smith out of Serra High School on the west coast. Smith quickly became a favorite of the fan base as one of our top position prospects, and I was equally as pleased with the pick. My first gut reaction was that he could turn into a Todd Helton-esque player without the benefit of Coors Field offensively, and he fields his position well enough that he’ll be fine at first base down the line. He played a little outfield in High School, but that idea was quickly — and rightfully — scrapped.
I was hoping that the Mets would be a little aggressive with Smith and start him in Kingsport, considering they let Amed Rosario start there, but they played it safe and placed him on the GCL squad. Smith was promoted to Kingsport towards the end of the year, where he banged out four doubles in just six at-bats and drove in four runs as well. His end of season numbers stood at .301/.398/.439 with 13 doubles, one triple, three home runs, two stolen bases, and 26 RBI in 173 ABs. So an 18-year old put up a .300+ average in his first professional season, short-season or not, and there was a lot to like.
First and foremost, it is always important to remember that Smith just turned 18 during the middle of last season, and he has room to improve on his power. The general ability to hit for average is already there though, and what really impressed me about Smith this season was the progress he made at the plate. The great thing about it is that there was a statistical progression — so I can actually show you, by the numbers, how he improved:
June: .158/.190/.211, 5.9% LD, 14.3% K, (3-for-21)
July: .270/.398/.419, 18.5% LD, 23.7% K (20-for-74)
August: .372/.443/.526, 23.9% LD, 12.5% K (29-for-78)
Well, there you have it. His line-drive rate improved across the board each month, and he posted his lowest strikeout rate in his last full month of play. His August ISO power rating was .154, so he finally cracked an average power rate by the end of the season as well. I’m under the impression that he could play in Brooklyn next year, which saps lefty home run power due to some wind coming in from left field, but we’ll see what happens. I’m also hoping he goes to Brooklyn so I can get a more personal look at him on a regular basis, so I’m biased on the matter. Regardless, I think Smith’s improvement through the year gives me hope that he’ll develop into the hitter that I think he will down the line — and his advanced bat might allow him to get through the system quicker than the average first-rounder. Keep it up, Dom!