- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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After a hitless performance on May 17, St. Lucie first baseman Dominic Smith’s average sunk to .194.
Then came a 16-game hitting streak.
Now, Smith’s average has climbed all the way to .304 through 225 at-bats with the Florida State League club. He has a league-leading 22 doubles. And his 42 RBIs rank second in the FSL, trailing only Daytona’s Sebastian Elizalde.
“Dom has continued to display an advanced feel for hitting,” VP Paul DePodesta said. “Playing in the Florida State League at just 19 years old -- at least until last week -- he's continued to hit for a high average while adding significantly more power, though that part of his game will only continue to evolve over the next five years. He's also shown advanced skill against left-handed pitching and his usual excellent defense at first base.”
Smith was selected with the Mets’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2013 draft out of high school in Los Angeles. He turned 20 on June 15.
“When I started off pretty slowly, a week or two into the season, I sat down with my hitting coach and worked on a few things,” Smith said. “We worked on me staying back. It’s been a lot easier as far as making solid contact and hitting the ball hard and spraying the ball all over the field. That’s why a lot of things right now are going right.”
Smith has only two homers, but that figures to pick up as he ages. Smith also would like to cut down on his strikeout totals, although his 159 strikeouts in 858 career at-bats are not overwhelming.
“Sometimes I’m letting myself get behind and then I’m chasing a bad pitch,” Smith said. “I just want to improve on that and continue to hit the ball hard.”
If Smith gets a promotion to Double-A Binghamton in the not-too-distant future, he could join three other first-round picks there: Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini.
He also could represent the Mets in the July 12 Futures Game in Cincinnati.
“I’m not too worried about that. Whatever happens, happens,” Smith said. “I just want to go out and do my job and play good baseball every day and help my team win games.”
Average: Arnaldo Berrios, Kingsport, .500; Victor Moscote, GCL Mets, .444; Vinny Siena, Brooklyn, .412; Michael Bernal, Brooklyn, .368; Hengelbert Rojas, Kingsport, .333; Dash Winningham, Kingsport, .333; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .331; Tucker Tharp, Brooklyn, .321; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, .315; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, .307.
Homers: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 12; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 12; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 12; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 9; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, 8.
RBIs: Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 46; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 42; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 42; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 41; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 41.
Steals: Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 19; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 18; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 15; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 12; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 11.
ERA: Matt Blackham, Brooklyn, 0.00; Nabil Crismatt, Kingsport, 0.00; Merandy Gonzalez, GCL Mets, 0.00; Jose Carlos Medina, GCL Mets, 0.00; Michael Gibbons, Brooklyn, 1.42; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 2.13; Steven Matz, Vegas, 2.19; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.68; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 2.82; Tyler Badamo, Brooklyn, 3.00.
Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 7; Steven Matz, Vegas, 7; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 7; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 7; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 6.
Saves: Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 13; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 13; Jon Velasquez, Vegas, 12; David Roseboom, Savannah, 8; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 7.
Strikeouts: Steven Matz, Vegas, 94; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 74; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 66; John Gant, St. Lucie, 62; Martires Arias, Savannah, 56.
To say that Conforto -- the team’s first-round pick out Oregon State last June -- is tearing up the Eastern League would be an understatement. The 22-year-old outfielder is hitting .364 with two homers, 13 RBIs and a .467 on-base percentage in 77 at-bats since a promotion from St. Lucie. Conforto has reached base safely in all 21 games since joining the B-Mets. He has four multi-hit performances in his past six games.
Right-hander Scarlyn Reyes was named South Atlantic League pitcher of the week. Reyes, 25, came within an out of a complete game before being pulled at 100 pitches last Thursday against Asheville. He struck out 11 and was charged with two unearned runs.
Vic Black resurfaced with a scoreless inning with two strikeouts for Las Vegas on Tuesday after missing 15 days with a groin injury.
Brooklyn Cyclones right-hander Tyler Badamo is getting some home cooking while playing for the New York-Penn League club. Badamo, who allowed two runs in six innings at Staten Island in a no-decision on Opening Day in his New York-Penn League debut, is from Mount Sinai on Long Island. He attended Dowling College in Oakdale. Badamo had roughly 35 family and friends watch him pitch on Friday, including his 4-year-old daughter Brooke, who was born during his freshman year in college. Badamo told Newsday that the birth of his daughter capped an emotional period in his life that included the death of his father 13 months earlier. "Within that 13 months, it was a little rough," Badamo told the newspaper. "But it made me grow up and it made me the pitcher that I am today. I've been through so many bigger things that the small things, I don't really sweat too much."
Jeff Walters, who set Binghamton single-season and career records with 38 saves with the Double-A club in 2013, is healthy again. Walters pitched a scoreless inning Monday in the Gulf Coast League. It marked his first official game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.
After an ill-fated major league debut in Toronto, Akeel Morris has found success with his promotion from St. Lucie to the B-Mets. Morris, who had a 1.69 ERA and 13 saves in 14 chances in the Florida State League, has thrown two no-hit innings with one walk since joining the Eastern League club.
Savannah is playoff-bound in its final season before relocating to Columbia, South Carolina. The Gnats closed the first half on a four-game winning streak to post a 39-31 record and clinch the division title on the final day on Sunday. Greenville finished second at 38-32.
St. Lucie second baseman Jeff McNeil, who leads the Florida State League with a .331 average, was the only player on the South team to have a multi-hit performance in the league’s all-star game.
Kingsport’s season began Tuesday with a 4-3 extra-inning win against Johnson City. The K-Mets’ roster includes middle infielder Milton Ramos, the organization’s third-round pick in 2014. Among this year’s draft picks, the roster includes right-handers Chase Ingram (sixth round, Hillsborough Community College), Witt Haggard (10th, Delta State), Joe Shaw (12th, Dallas Baptist), Dillon Becker (16th, Angelo State University) and Thomas McIlraith (20th, Oklahoma), left-handers Taylor Henry (21st, Centenary) and Seth Davis (29th, Augustana College), catcher Patrick Mazeika (eighth, Stetson) and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski (ninth, Evansville).
Although he has a 4.18 ERA overall, southpaw Dario Alvarez has limited lefty batters to a .128 batting average (5-for-39) with 19 strikeouts this season with Binghamton.
Newly signed fourth-round pick David Thompson, a third baseman from the University of Miami, has joined Brooklyn.