Dominic Smith has struggled to establish himself at the plate so far this spring, but that task is about to get a lot easier for the 21-year-old first baseman.
MLB.com's No. 63 overall prospect was among nine players the Mets reassigned to Minor League camp on Saturday. Shorstop Luis Guillorme, New York's No. 17 prospect, and left-hander P.J. Conlon (No. 24) also were among the cuts.
Smith, who handled Double-A pitching to the tune of a .302/.367/.457 slash line with 29 doubles, 14 homers and a pair of triples last year, was 5-for-27 (.185) with 10 strikeouts in 13 Grapefruit League games. He turned in his first multiple-hit performance on Friday. Reporting to camp 24 pounds lighter than last year, the Los Angeles native turned heads with his glove during his time with the big league club.
"The thing I was impressed at was he came to camp in great shape," Mets manager Terry Collins told MLB.com. "I think he's going to be a big league player. I think he's going to hit."
With a .360 on-base percentage in 425 Minor League games since being drafted 11th overall in 2013, Smith has garnered attention at the dish. He rates a 60 in hitting and a 50 for power on the 20-80 scouting scale. His defense at first base, though, only increases his value -- his glove is also scored as a 60-grade tool.
He figures to open the season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Guillorme, 22, spent last season with Class A Advanced St. Lucie, hitting .263 and impressing with his slick fielding. It was his glove work that also got him the most attention in spring camp -- he made a nonchalant snare of a flying bat last week. Guillorme was 6-for-25 (.240) with a homer, four RBIs and four runs scored in Grapefruit action.
Conlon, a 23-year-old with a four-pitch mix and a deceptive delivery, was 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 24 games -- 23 starts -- between Class A Columbia and St. Lucie last year, his first full season as a pro. He made four appearances, including one start, for the Mets this spring, posting a 4.70 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over 7 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits, six walks and hit a batter without recording a strikeout.
Right-handers Kevin McGowan, Logan Taylor and Corey Taylor, left-hander David Roseboom, infielder Phillip Evans and outfielder Champ Stewart also were sent to Minor League camps.
The cuts -- the Mets' first of the spring -- come a day after manager Terry Collins told media that Tim Tebow's 0-for-4 showing Friday was likely to be his last game in big league camp. Because Tebow was neither on the roster nor an official non-roster invitee, no transaction is required to close out his Grapefruit League stint.
Elsewhere, the Tigers made four cuts, including three of their Top 30 Prospects. Righties Adam Ravenelle (No. 13) and Victor Alcantara (No. 26) and lefty Jairo Labourt (No. 22) were assigned to Minor League camp.