It has been a major topic of conversation, especially of late, that the Mets need to upgrade at the catching position. While this is something that is undisputable, catching was not the only position that saw a major lack of production. The Mets had a cast of nine characters suit up and start at third base for them in 2018, ranging from Luis Guillorme to David Wright. Of course, the man who took the lion’s share of the games at the position was Todd Frazier, and he is expected to do the same in the upcoming season. From Frazier, and the other third basemen on the team, the Mets will need more production to be successful.
Between the nine characters that suited up at third base, it is likely that only Jeff McNeil and Frazier will do so again. The crew put up a collective batting average of .209, one point higher than the .208 mark that catchers swung. Both of the groups had a lower batting average than Mets pinch hitters throughout the season, who hit .219 as a collective. Frazier, while smacking 18 home runs and driving in 59 runs, batted only .213. In 115 games, Frazier struck out 112 times, a number that was far too high to be considered successful.
The production at the hot corner should see a bump in 2019 however. After being bumped from the second base position to make room for the arrival of Robinson Cano, McNeil now finds himself in the position of being the designated utility player on the team. This is fitting, considering the last “super-sub” that the Mets had on the roster, Joe McEwing, came during his age 27 season as well. The difference between the two is that McNeil has hitting skills that are known about league wide.
In his 63 games with the team last season, McNeil swatted .329. He also showed a knack for putting the ball into play often, which is something that a strikeout heavy lineup needs. He made such an impression on Mets fans during his short stint with the team that when his name was brought up during the trade discussions for Cano and Edwin Diaz, fans became upset at the thought he would be part of the package. A full season, or at least a full season of McNeil getting at bats as a utility player, will be interesting to see.
Being that McNeil and Frazier are on the roster, it is not likely that the team adds another third baseman. This is fine, considering McNeil and his ability to put the ball in play, will be the yin to Frazier’s yang of being a low average, high power type hitter. There is no doubt however that the duo will need to put up better production than the third baseman did last season. The 2019 season is going to be an extremely interesting one for the Mets, and there will be little room for anyone that does not produce, no matter the position.