Would someone within the New York Mets organization like to provide a legitimate explanation as to why Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith are not in the big leagues right now?
There is no denying that the Mets and their fans are already looking ahead to next year as they finish up another dreadful season in 2018. With nothing left to play for, promising signs and moral victories are all that’s left to try and fill another hollow shell that was supposed to be competitive baseball.
As always, there is some reason for optimism even though the Mets and their inept ownership will likely find a way to mess things up. Zack Wheeler has joined Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard as a top-tier pitcher, one that could round out a lethal trio of arms should everyone stay healthy next year.
Amed Rosario is batting over .300 in his last 17 games while Jeff McNeil does nothing but hit as he’s recorded a .336 batting average in his first 107 major-league at-bats.
But this is the Mets, so there are always moments that lead fans to believe that the organization’s future is being sabotaged from within. Most notably (this year) it is the absence of young first-baseman Dominic Smith and his counterpart at the position, fellow 23-year-old Peter Alonso.
While Smith has been up and down between the majors and triple-A Las Vegas, Alonso has been simply ripping the cover off baseballs. Between double-A and triple-A this season, Alonso has hit 33 home runs with 111 RBI, the most runs batted in by a Mets prospect since Gregg Jeffries in 1986.
Yet manager Mickey Callaway has opted to split time at first base between the recently-activated Jay Bruce, a natural right fielder, and utility infielder Wilmer Flores, who is normally a second baseman.
Putting Bruce at first is somewhat of an understandable idea. The 31-year-old has two years remaining on his contract and a crowded outfield that is expected to feature Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and possibly Yoenis Cespedes would likely make Bruce the odd man out. When healthy, Bruce is a 30-home-run hitter, so the team has to find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
But this year he’s batting .219 with four home runs in an injury-shortened 66 games. That’s a worrisome trend that should force Callaway and the Mets to have a real backup plan.
If only they had two young talents that could very well be the future of the organization.
The curious absence of Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith
It’s bad enough that Smith is not up on the MLB roster considering he’s been given a taste of the big leagues with little opportunity to improve himself. Yes, his numbers have not been there as he’s batted a measly .197 in 80 games. However, an inconsistent carousel that has jettisoned him between the majors and minors does not do much to help his development.
If the Mets truly want to see Smith get better, they should call him back up and keep him up for the rest of season.
Alonso’s continued stay in triple-A though is by far the most puzzling factor of this situation. While he continues to rake in the minors offensively, assistant general manager John Ricco had the audacity to go on record and say that Alonso’s defense is what’s keeping him out of the majors. On Tuesday, the team announced that Alonso would not see any time in the majors this season.
Alonso has a .990 fielding percentage in the minor leagues this year. The Mets have a combined .985 fielding percentage. If Ricco, Callaway and the organization truly cared about defense, they wouldn’t have been playing Smith in left field and veteran outfielder Jose Bautista at third base.
Instead, they’ll insult Mets fans’ intelligence while prioritizing out-of-position veterans during a lost season.
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