For once, the New York Mets actually have a good problem on their hands.
While they’ve already seen infielders Jed Lowrie, Todd Frazier, and Amed Rosario go down with injury this spring, the first-base job has heated up.
Both Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso are mashing down in Port St. Lucie, which could leave manager Mickey Callaway with a tough call during the early portions of the regular season.
Alonso is feeding off the momentum from his monster 2018 campaign split between double-A and triple-A. After hitting 36 home runs in the minors, the 24-year-old has already socked a pair of moonshots in spring training.
In seven games entering Tuesday, Alonso is slashing .412/.474/.882 with five RBI as he continues to make a strong case for the starting first-base job come Opening Day.
The notion of Alonso being with the big club immediately was thought to be a long-shot as spring training began. Withholding him from the majors for the first few weeks of the season would allow the Mets to snag an extra year of service time from Alonso before he would become a free agent.
In the meantime, Frazier was expected to see time at first while the organization waited for Alonso while Lowrie started at third. Obviously, a wrench is thrown into the equation with their injuries.
Luckily for the Mets, Smith looks as though he’s turning a corner offensively.
While he’s played parts of two seasons in the majors with the Mets, Smith is actually younger than Alonso at 23 years old. Once one of the organization’s top-rated prospects, Smith’s stock has plummetted over the pair of lackluster stints in Queens.
In 105 career games, Smith slashed .210/.259/.406, which called his future with the club into question. Now with his path to the majors firmly blocked by a talent like Alonso’s, Smith is answering the call.
In eight games, Smith is batting .500 with one home run and six RBI.
“I’m finally playing like I know I’m capable of doing,” Smith told reporters over the weekend. “If you look at my numbers in the minor leagues, you know I’ve had spurts where I’ve won player of the week, player of the month. It’s definitely in there. I haven’t showed it on a consistent basis at the big-league level. It’s pretty fun to be able to showcase it like this.”
It’s unfair to expect both bats to keep up this high level of offensive production, but nevertheless, Callaway is going to have some attractive options to choose from the closer things get to Opening Day.