Right now, the New York Mets are taking up a roster spot for a man batting .202/.274/.337 and hasn’t been much help anywhere else. That man happens to be one of the Mets all time great players, Jose Reyes. Not the player he used to be, his welcome in New York might have ran out. Another man they happen to be pay a total $7.5 to hit .234/.311/.422 with 15 home runs while only playing in 84 games so far this year. This man happens to be 32 year old Todd Frazier. Clogging up third base for the next two seasons, he could be blocking a potential future piece to help out the talent depleted Mets. The Mets did use a roster spot very wisely on this young man making a name for himself since he was called up.
Enter Jeff McNeil. Ever since getting drafted in the 12th round back in 2013, McNeil has done nothing except hit. McNeil had to force the issue this season by hitting .342/.411/.617–1.028 OPS– over the course of 84 games, in Double-A and Triple A. During this span, they had Asdrubal Cabrera at second, Amed Rosario holding down Short, and Todd Frazier at third. Rosario is only 22 years old, and yes he has potential to one day be an All-Star one day, but he has looked over matched this whole season. He probably should have been sent down a month or two ago, but the Mets have nothing to lose at this point in the season. I have said it before, but the signing Todd Frazier was questionable. With the Mets not looking too competitive this year or maybe not even next year, why not give guys who have shown they can hit in the minors a shot? What’s the worst possible outcome? They lose an extra game or two? So they gain a higher draft pick at that point? I don’t see the harm in that. Mets owners would rather pay a 32 year old who can barely hit his weight then give a young guy a shot.
It took the Mets trading Asdrubal Cabrera, Todd Frazier getting hurt, and Jose Reyes not producing consistently to finally give McNeil his shot. And just like in Double-A and Triple-A, McNeil has not stopped hitting. Since his call up on July 24, which has accumulated into 32 games, McNeil has hit safely in 11 straight games dating back to August 16th. Along with hitting safely in 13 of the last 14 games and 26 of his first 32 Major League games. Overall that comes out to .340/.402/481. Pretty good for a guy who coming into the season was more so an after thought even given his track record of crushing minor league pitching. McNeil may not do one thing exceptionally well, except make good hard contact, but he does everything you can ask for and them some. Just because one aspect of his game doesn’t grab headlines every other night, his ability to hit the ball hard all over the field goes a long way and should prolong his career.
While things in Queens are a bit dim at the moment, McNeil sheds some positive, bright, light upon the future of the New York Mets. Hopefully the Mets will start to move to more of a youth movement in the coming seasons or they are in for another few down years. Behind Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, Jacob Degrom, Noah Syndagaard, and now Jeff McNeil, the future could be worse. Look for McNeil to finish the year strong and open the 2019 season as the starting second baseman for the New York Mets.