Mets Minor League Position Breakdown: First Base

By Mets Daddy

October 4, 2017 13 Comments

Las Vegas 51s

Dominic Smith
MiLB Stats:
114 G, 500 PA, 457 AB, 77 R, 151 H, 34 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 76 RBI, SB, CS, .330/.386/.519
MLB Stats:
46 G, 169 PA, 157 AB, 16 R, 32 H, 6 2B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, .204/.254/.395
MMN Rank: 2

Even with a hot second half to end the season in Binghamton last year, there were still questions about Smith’s power.  Those questions were quieted by and large when Smith hit .385/.437/.725 with 13 doubles, eight homers, and 26 RBI.  Between players like Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce being traded and this hot stretch, Smith finally got called up to the majors in August where it’s been a mixed bag with him as is usually the case for young players in their first exposure to the majors.

So far, we have seen Smith continue to hit for homers at the Major League level, but we have also seen him uncharacteristically struggle on defense.  Even with these struggles, he should be better for the experience.  At least that’s the hope with him being penciled in as the Mets 2018 Opening Day first baseman.

(Photo Credit: Helene Haessler/MILB.com)

Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Matt Oberste
MiLB Stats:
129 G, 516 PA, 455 AB, 59 R, 129 H, 27 3B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB, CS, .284/.360/.389

By and large, Oberste’s second season in Binghamton was more of the same for him with him going from a 107 wRC+ to a 109 wRC+.  This made for a disappointing season for Oberste.  Mostly, the reason his season was disappointing was because his power still has not developed even with him repeating a level and finally getting an opportunity to play first base instead of bouncing between the corners and DH.

Defensively, Oberste has shown himself to be a good defender at first.  However, without him improving his power numbers, he’s likely going to have to move off the position even if it is for him improving his chances of becoming a utility player at the major league level.

(Ed Delany/Mets Minors)

St. Lucie Mets

Peter Alonso
MiLB Stats:
93 G, 393 PA, 353 AB, 52 R, 102 H, 27 2B, 3B, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 3 SB, 4 CS, .289/.359/.524

Jhoan Urena
MiLB Stats:
135 G, 570 PA, 502 AB, 77 R, 139 H, 34 2B, 3 3B, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 18 SB, 3 CS, .277/.358/.440

In his second season with the Mets, Alonso has continued to exhibit the power that led the Mets to make him their second round pick in last year’s draft.  No matter the level or the situation, Alonso slugs.  The problem is Alonso has shown himself to be a bit injury prone and a poor first baseman.  For the second straight year, Alonso has spent time on the disabled list with an injury, and he has not improved defensively.

Similar to Alonso, Urena has suffered from health and defensive issues in his minor league career.  For him, the health issues have resolved, and he shined offensively.  However, he still had issues at his natural position – third base.  This has led the Mets to try to find the best place for him, and at this time, the Mets appear to have given up on him as a third baseman.  He’s reported to the Instructional Leagues as an outfielder, but it should be noted he has played first base more than any position other than third.

Columbia Fireflies

Dash Winningham
MiLB Stats:
114 G, 474 PA, 426 AB, 42 R, 101 H, 15 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 70 RBI, 3 SB, 2 CS, .237/.304/.369

Much like Oberste, Winningham repeated his level, and his power did not develop the way the Mets had hoped.  In fact, Winningham’s slugging percentage has gone done in each of the past two seasons.  Part of the reason why Winningham did not have the breakout season the Mets had hoped was his dealing with an injury this season landing him on the disabled list for 15 days.

Certainly, there is a reason to believe with him being healthy next year he could take the next step.  In the Month of May, Winningham hit .289/.326/.590 with seven doubles, six homers, and 23 RBI in 23 games.  On the strength of that month, Winningham would be named an All Star where he would win MVP honors.

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

Short Season First Basemen

Jeremy Vasquez
MiLB Stats:
67 G, 280 PA, 237 AB, 29 R, 63 H, 15 2B, 8 HR, 38 RBI, .266/.368/.430

Matt Winaker
MiLB Stats: 
21 G, 87 PA, 71 AB, 10 R, 19 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SB, .268/.402/.282

Gavin Garay
MiLB Stats:
36 G, 143 PA, 130 AB, 22 R, 32 H, 5 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, SB, .246/.308/.354

In Vasquez (28th), Winaker (5th), and Garay (26th), the Mets have three draft picks from the 2017 draft.  The trio have power potential even if we may not see true power from them for another year or so as they all mature physically.  So far, Vazquez has been the standout of the group.  In both Kingsport and Brooklyn, he would get the bulk of the starts at first base over his fellow draftees.  A large part of that was his hot start in Kingsport where he hit .296/.394/.511.

Certainly, it will be interesting to see how the Mets handle these three promising players.  All three of them have the athleticism to handle other positions, but ultimately, they are all best suited for first base.