September 30, 2013
10:48 am Comments Off
As the end of September comes around, the Mets find themselves playing meaningless games in the final month for the fifth straight season. While it has been a disappointing season, there is light at the end of the tunnel for this team. The foundation for the future of this organization is bright with lots of young talent on its way in the coming years.
Friday night, the Mets announced their 2013 Sterling Award winners at Citi Field before the game. The Sterling Award is emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization’s nine minor league affiliates. Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard highlighted the winners for triple-A and double-A, respectively. Another young Mets prospect that shined this season though is one that won’t be able to go out and get a beer to celebrate. The Mets 2013 first round draft pick Dominic Smith is just 18 years old and he took home the Sterling Award for the Gulf Coast League Mets.
Smith got the chance to take batting practice before Friday’s game at Citi Field before the Mets fell to the Brewers 4-2 for the second straight night. The whole experience is still hitting the 18-year-old first baseman.
“It’s surreal. It’s like a dream come true, honestly. It feels great. The field is beautiful. You’re hanging around big league guys. You’re already getting a taste of the next level.”
The 11th overall pick in this season’s First-Year Player Draft hit .287 with three home runs, 22 RBI, and had a .384 on-base percentage for the GCL Mets. It was a major adjustment for Smith from his days in high school just a few months ago.
“The toughest thing was playing everyday. It’s tough, but you never really understand it until you play and being a 17-year-old kid, you hear people say all the time, oh let’s go play baseball every day. If we offer you a contract would you sign and play everyday, you would be like hell yea! Baseball is fun, but it’s really a job and it’s tough and plays a big toll on your body.”
While Smith had an impressive first season in the minors, he knows there’s plenty of work still ahead of him as the offseason has officially begun.
“It’s a lot of things I need to work on. It’s a ton. You’re never perfect. I’m nowhere near perfect or where I feel I should be, especially after my first year. There’s a ton to work on and I can’t wait to get to the offseason so I can work on those things and advance my game.”
The first baseman earned a late season promotion to Kingsport, where he had four doubles in six at-bats over three games. The Los Angeles, CA native finished the season with a combined .301 (52-173) batting average, good for seventh in the organization. The big league club could have an opening at first base soon, but Smith isn’t ready to think about that just yet.
“When I’m ready they’ll bring me up. I just take it one day at a time. I don’t really look at the future aspect as a couple years. I try to play hard and advance my game and try to show them to make the next step.”
The 6-0, 180-pound West Coast kid got a little taste of what’s to come playing on the East Coast in New York. So far, Smith likes what he sees in the city that never sleeps.
“New York is beautiful. It’s a beautiful city. The fans are awesome and amazing. Best fans in baseball and arguably all of sports. They really love their Mets and they love their players. They know their players inside and out. It’s really a great position I’m in.
The Mets first-round pick has shown promise and will look to take the next step in the minor leagues next season when he will get a full season under his belt. Smith said he models his game in the field after Mark Teixeira and at the plate after Robinson Cano and Carlos Gonzalez. That’s some big shoes to live up to, but the left-handed hitting first baseman is ready for the offseason ahead as he tries to work his way up to the New York Mets one day.
“A few months back, I was at high school with my friends and now I’m in a big league park wearing an awesome uniform and being drafted by a major league team and getting to play for them and hopefully one day get to be in this position where I can wake up everyday and come to this beautiful ballpark.”
You can hear my entire interview with Dominic Smith here: