First there was Darryl. Twenty three years later, there is Dominic. The Mets dipped into the Los Angeles area with the top pick in the 1980 draft and selected Darryl Strawberry, a power-hitting outfielder who helped change the floundering organization’s fortunes, and they went back there last night. They hope their first-round pick in this year’s Major League First-Year Player Draft, 17-year-old left-handed hitter Dominic Smith, has a similar impact. “I’m trying to come to the Mets and bring everything to the table,” said Smith, whose mother Yvette was born in Queens and grew up in The Bronx. “I want to bring my hitting ability, I want to bring my fielding ability. I want to become a leader one day.” The Mets chose the 6-foot, 185-pound star out of Serra High School (Calif.), ranked 14th by Baseball America entering the draft, with their first selection (11th overall). Smiling broadly, Smith said he has modeled his swing after Robinson Cano and Carlos Gonzalez — left-handed hitters with long, sweet strokes. Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous compared Smith’s swing with Rafael Palmeiro’s and Will Clark’s. “This may be the best left-handed bat from Los Angeles since Darryl Strawberry,” analyst and former major leaguer Harold Reynolds said on the MLB Network. Strawberry, in fact, was on hand as one of the Mets’ representatives and took photos with Smith,shortly after the selection was made. He preached patience with the youngster, who hit .493 with a .635 on-base percentage in 27 games for Serra this spring. and turns 18 on June 15. “From all the reports I hear about him, he’s a pretty good player,” Strawberry said. “If he’s taught the right fundamentals, hopefully he can develop and be a great big-league ball player.” Though Smith, who has committed to USC, has played first base and outfield, Tanous said the Mets envision his future at first base.
Mets’ first-rounder Smith gets compared with Strawberry
New York Post | Jun 7