Red-hot Smith comes through again for 51s

Mets No. 2 prospect accounts for offense with homer, double

Since being drafted in the first round in 2013, Dominic Smith has batted .301/.365/.427 over 519 Minor League games. (Jim Redman/

By Josh Jackson / | July 20, 2017 2:56 AM

Dominic Smith's hitting over the last month has been many things, but one thing it hasn't been is a surprise.

"I'm a second-half player. This year, I started hot and I'm heating up [again] in the second half," the Mets No. 2 prospect said.

Smith homered and belted a go-ahead three-run double to spark Triple-A Las Vegas to a 4-3 win over visiting Fresno on Wednesday. He's gone 20-for-47 (.426) with three homers and 14 RBIs over an 11-game hitting streak.

Video: Smith hits an opposite-field jack for the 51s

"[Hitting the go-ahead double was] a great feeling, especially to help our team get a win the way our starting pitcher pitched and the way their starting pitcher pitched," Smith said. "I was definitely happy I was able to come through, and I appreciate that my teammates put me in a position to be able to do that. It was a great team win."

The 22-year-old first baseman, who's hit in 30 of his last 31 games, is batting .334/.388/.512 with 41 extra-base knocks over his first 95 games in the Pacific Coast League. With 13 jacks, he's also one shy of the career high he set with Double-A Binghamton over 130 games last year.

"We still have a [couple] more months. I'm pretty excited to see what I end up with and what I can do by the end of the year. This month was really good, and last month wasn't as good in that department," Smith said. "I worked on some things, and I feel like things really clicked with my swing so I could start elevating the ball and hitting it out of the park. I think that stuff has shown, and it's gotten me into this position.

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"Normally, I'm digging myself out of a hole, because I start slow in April and in June, July, August, I play well. That was different this year. I start fast, and in the middle part of the year, I'm really locked in. I start adjusting to the league and get to know the pitchers, and that's when I start to take off." 

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The left-handed hitter socked his solo roundtripper the opposite way against right-hander Trent Thornton with two outs in the opening frame.

"There's definitely not a better way to start a game," the No. 52 overall prospect said. "But even if you get a base hit in your first at-bat, that helps keep your team motivated, and it makes you feel good individually as a player. It helps you throughout a game, knowing you have three or four more at-bats, when you got the first one out of the way and you have a few more to do some more damage."

His game-changing two-bagger off righty Jordan Jankowski with two outs in the eighth also went to left.

"Getting the job done makes me feel good. My whole career, I've loved to use left field," the Los Angeles native said. "I love to showcase power to left field. They shift on me to pull a lot, so to do that to a team that shifts me to pull definitely feels good."

For a moment, Smith thought he might have smacked a grand slam.

Video: Smith knocks in three for the 51s

"There was a chance. Vegas has a high wall and it went off the wall, so there was a chance it was going to get out of the yard," he said. "I knew I hit it good enough to help my team advance with the runs, especially because the outfielders were playing in. If I hit a single, there'd be a play at the plate. So when I saw the outfielder going back, I knew it was going to be a tough play even if it didn't get out."

Tyler Pill (4-3) threw seven shutout innings for the 51s, scattering six hits and two walks while striking out three.

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Seventh-ranked Astros prospect Teoscar Hernandez lofted a two-run homer and walked twice for the Grizzlies while Tony Kemp collected a hit in his 24th straight game.

Thornton (6-2) allowed one run on four hits and one walk over seven innings.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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