Mets Minors: Jeff McNeil and the unsung prospects

At the age of 26 the left handed utility player, Jeff McNeil, is not what most people would identify as a “prospect”. The Mets originally signed McNeil in 2013 out of Long Beach State. The second baseman, at the time, seemed poised to move easily through the minors. He was great in Kingsport, earned a mid season promotion out of Savannah, and managed to keep things moving strong through 119 games at Port St. Lucie. Then, in 2016, injuries struck.

McNeil only played in three games in 2016 and he followed that up with only 48 in 2017. Those two lost seasons have made all the difference in a player whose 2018 numbers should be garnering more attention than they are.

In the first 48 games of the 2018 season, he is leading the team in OPS and has added power to his solid contact numbers in a big way. Back in 2015, McNeil only slugged .382 for the Advanced A affiliate but this season he’s produced an astronomical .665 slugging percentage. 14 doubles, 3 triples and 13 home runs will do that for a player.

He’s also enjoying a pretty great start to the month of June. In the four games he’s played this month he has a .583/.667/1.000 batting line and has settled into the 2nd spot in the Binghamton lineup nicely. Also of note, his home and away splits are nearly identical.

The one drawback about his play is how skewed his lefty vs. righty numbers have been. He’s hitting .383 against right handed pitching but only .216 against southpaws.

All this said, it’d be hard for me to suggest that McNeil profiled as a major league starter. I suppose if these 2018 numbers are 100% for real but that would be wishful thinking. Instead, expect the name Jeff McNeil to float around next Spring Training to earn a spot on the major league bench.

AAA:

Kevin Kaczmarski is back to speed – When the Mets need an outfielder for their bench, he’ll be ready.

Dominic Smith is lost – It’s nearly time for the Mets to shift Smith out of the way to allow other prospects forward.

Matthew den Dekker is ready for action – Another capable 4th or 5th outfielder for the Mets to consider as their injury problems continue.

AA:

Peter Alonso is slumping – Pitchers are avoiding him which is leading to fewer hits and more walks.

A+:

Andres Gimenez is still hitting – He’s hit .383 in his past 10 games with only 5 strikeouts.

Justin Dunn is more good than bad – His season has had bumps and blemishes but his 2018 season gives us hope for a future.

A:

David Peterson keeps doing it – That makes 6 straight starts that showcased his “Ace” potential.

12 comments for “Mets Minors: Jeff McNeil and the unsung prospects

  1. June 4, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Peterson belongs in St Lucie , and Dominic Smith’s slash line in Vegas is 260/350/375, yikes, and if you trade him you are selling pennies on the dollar, not sure what to do with him at this juncture.

    • David Groveman
      June 4, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Peterson should get the bump soon enough.

      I almost wonder if you promote Peter Alonso and Jeff McNeil to AAA and demote Dominic Smith so the kid realizes he needs to start producing. We would get almost nothing for Smith at this point… less than pennies.

  2. Eric
    June 4, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Pray tell, besides Alonso, who are the other IB prospects Dom is blocking in the system. Giving up on him now would be a mistake in my opinion!

    • David Groveman
      June 4, 2018 at 11:29 am

      The only 1st baseman being blocked by Dominic Smith is Peter Alonso although Matt Oberste is technically also blocked. Here is the depth chart for minor league first basemen.

      Dominic Smith, AAA
      Peter Alonso, AA
      Matt Oberste, AA
      Anthony Dimino, A+
      Dash Winningham, A+
      Jeremy Vasquez, A

      Dominic Smith is still young and he’s not flourishing in AAA so a demotion to AA might not be the worst thing for him.

      • Chris F
        June 4, 2018 at 11:49 am

        Seriously, going backward? Can you diagnose his issue? Is it both defense and offense?

        Even if “give up” is not where we are at, the fact he’s stepping “down” and not “up” is terribly disappointing.

        Im not for fast tracking Alonso personally. Im happy giving him a late season call up to AAA, but Id like to see him work through AA highs and lows, and not make him think he needs to be a savior. Its also important to give Dom the chance to do the same. Dom just seems soooooooo immature and needs time to grow up as much as anything.

      • Rae
        June 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Domino is primarily a catcher. He can play a little 1B but he is a catcher not a 1b man. So Oberste, Alonso and Smith are the only minor leaguers who are playing in AA or above. Winningham and Vasquez are too far away to even consider as potential starting NY Mets 1B men.

        • David Groveman
          June 4, 2018 at 2:29 pm

          Dimino is transitioning away from catcher. I’ve seen him start more and more games at 1B and DH. They’ve even had him play the outfield.

  3. TexasGusCC
    June 4, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Dom was ready for a promotion last year, but struggled. I don’t know if leaving him in the minors makes him “readier”. I’d rather cut the smooth looking unproductive veteran and see if Smith learned anything from last year. AA isn’t the answer, and you cant expect him to improve. These kids today are sensitive, so let’s not kid ourselves. Then, move Alonso up.

  4. Name
    June 4, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Oh Luis Guillorme. Much like the Cubs on Saturday night, Reyes was trying to hand you a roster spot and you’ve laid a goose egg just like the Mets. All you had to do was show something, anything, and you’ve failed with a dismal .471 OPS. And some people thought you should have been the starting 2b.

    The love for the minors and youngsters is out of hand. The grass is rarely greener on the other side.

  5. Madman
    June 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Smith,Flores,Robles,Lagares,dArnaud, allguys most of us thought would be very good.

    • David Groveman
      June 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      I thought Flores and d’Arnaud would be very good
      I though Smith would be good
      I had no faith in Lagares or Robles

      • Roy Futernick
        June 7, 2018 at 12:34 am

        Now, all of a sudden Flores is underrated after years of being overrated. He is what he is. A power hitting .270 guy who can’t really field, throw or run. He is fine as a part time player. He is what he is. D’Arnaud hit 16 homers last year. He can’t throw. Neither could Piazza. What did fans expect out of him? Lagares is a nice fourth string outfielder who is great defensively. You can never count on Robles being consistently good. When you are dreading him coming in, he does great. When you think everything is fine, he blows up. Him, Montero, Smith and Gavin Cecchini are wastes.

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