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Lucas Duda Trade Launches The Dominic Smith Era For The Mets

Lucas Duda is no longer a New York Met. 

Tampa Bay Rays on Twitter

OFFICIAL: #Rays acquire 1B Lucas Duda from the New York Mets in exchange for minor league RH Drew Smith.

That’s all good with highly-touted Mets slugger Dominic Smith. Smith already let us know that he feels his arrival will mark a new day in Mets history. 

DOMINIC SMITH on Twitter

We the new Illuminati

Back in 2013, when Smith was 18 and the 11th overall draft pick of the Mets out of Junipero Serra High School in California, MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds called the power-hitting first baseman, The best left-handed bat in the Mets organization since Darryl Strawberry.

That was super high praise as Strawberry is one of the most feared, showstopping sluggers in MLB history. The Shadow League covered Smiths draft journey. That year, slick-fielding shortstop JP Crawford and Smith, the power-hitting first baseman, were first-round selections representing the next wave of African-American talent with ties to MLBs RBI program and Comptons Urban Youth Academy. 

Smith, has continued to develop, kept his power stroke, but has slimmed down considerably in recent months. 

Dominic Smith on his slimdown

Mets prospect Dominic Smith reports to spring training and talks about how he lost weight and what how he hopes it will help him.

In 2016, he had a .302 batting average with 14 homers and 91 RBIs for Binghamton in the Class AA Eastern League and was chosen to play in the 2016 All-Star Futures Game. The skill that makes him a major upgrade from Duda is his fielding prowess. 

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes spent some time with Smith in 2016 in Double-A and feels that the 6-foot, 239-pound pounder has Gold Glove potential. 

I was so impressed with how he plays first base, Reyes said on a night when the Mets were edged by the Padres, 7-5 at Petco Park. Hes a real good hitter, too. But he is so impressive with the glove. He is going to take care of business. Everything looks so smooth and easy for him.”

Its not a given that Duda was moved solely to make way for the young bombers elevation from Triple-A Vegas to the pros, but that seems to be the next step. 

There was a time, when it came to slugging, that Lucas Duda was the man on the Mets. He was a power-hitting first baseman that stood at 6-foot-4, 255-pounds, looking like an NFL linebacker out there. His glove work was never supreme, but his power output was, as he hit 57 home runs in two seasons and helped the Mets reach the World series in 2015 for the first time since the Subway Series in 2000. 

Lucas Duda Home Run MIx

Lucas Duda Home Runs. Let the Hate rest in peace. Do not own rights to music or videos.

Despite uncanny power and flashes of brilliance, injuries and inconsistency have hindered Dudas promising career. Since his debut in 2010, he has sustained three lower back injuries. His latest affliction was a hyper-extended elbow, which he suffered on April 20th.

The injuries have piled up to the point where Duda cannot be relied on. The Mets need his power (17 homers) but decided to send damaged goods out of the door now rather than later when his trade value diminishes.  

MLB hasnt had a prolific power packing African-American first baseman since Ryan Howard was jacking 50 bombs a season for a stretch back in the late 2000s. Smith is supposed to be that dude. Baseball needs another Black Knight on the infield serving up a serious dose of daily destruction to opposing pitchers. 

Ryan Howard Career Highlights

Highlights from the prime of Ryan Howards career.

For now, Mets manager Terry Collins is not announcing anything, but SNY reports that a Mets source said that he would likely be coming up to take Dudas spot within the next few days. On Thursday night, Jay Bruce moved from right field to play first base, but hes just keeping it warm for Mr. Smith. 

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