Coming into Spring Training, the Mets didn't necessarily have a battle at first base. Veteran infielder Todd Frazier was making the shift from third to first, while top prospect Pete Alonso was expected to make a strong push to start Opening Day.
Dominic Smith, though, has made things very interesting in Port St. Lucie.
Smith was once in Alonso's shoes as one of the Mets' top prospects, but he has yet to showcase that talent in the bigs. It's why he was taking reps in the outfield last season to see if he has a different fit on this Mets squad. But, this spring, he looks like a different player, one that has seen a rejuvenation in his game.
So what does Smith attribute to his success so far in Mets camp? Better sleep.
Smith suffers from sleep apnea -- a serious disorder that interrupts the body's breathing pattern during sleep. In the past, nights of restless sleep left Smith feeling groggy, and it would affect his game especially at the plate.
"What I would perceive as a 103 mph fastball would actually be 95 (mph)," Smith told the Daily News' Deesha Thosar.
But, now, Smith sleeps with a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP for short. And, after getting the proper amount of sleep the night before, Smith has been producing at a clip manager Mickey Callaway and the rest of the team hasn't seen from the 23-year-old.
"This is a special thing that we're getting to see right now," Callaway said. "We haven't seen this from him. So he does look like he's in a better spot than he has been."
Through eight games, Smith is hitting an even .500 with his 10 hits leading the Mets. He has also collected one homer, one double, and six RBI, as he has made the statement that the first base battle most certainly includes him.
Smith is also proving how a good night's sleep makes all the difference.
"I have more energy now," he said. "I come to the park feeling good."