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.
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.
Peter Alonso is slumping – Pitchers are avoiding him which is leading to fewer hits and more walks.
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.
David Peterson keeps doing it – That makes 6 straight starts that showcased his “Ace” potential.