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The Real Deal, Jeff McNeil

Since getting the call to the majors, McNeil is hitting a robust 340/.394/.889 with three home runs and 19 RBIs

Hey, remember when Jeff McNeil wasn’t considered ready to play? Remember when Jose Reyes was getting playing time over him? My, those were the days.

The 2018 season has become another rebuilding year for the Mets, as injuries and inconsistent play have affected all chances to compete. One player who continues to surprise the organization is one who is becoming adored by the Flushing Faithful. Since being called up in late July, Jeff McNeil has become a true force to be reckoned with.

Coming into today (September 24), McNeil has only played in 57 games. What has he done during that time? The 26-year-old has hit an outstanding slash line of .340/.394/.889 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 68 hits. Yesterday he recorded his third four-hit game since being called up. With three hits yesterday, he broke an all-time Mets record with eight three-hit games, once held by David Wright. When looking deeper into his stats, McNeil is outplaying everyone in the game, especially his fellow second basemen.

Every single time McNeil comes to bat, you know you are in for a treat. His presence, along with Brandon Nimmo’s, makes the team better. Maybe, this was evident all along.

McNeil’s stats in the minors were the first point of what he could do. He had a .342/.411/.617 slash line with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. Still, when he kept on producing, the Mets would resist calling him up or play him right away. It wasn’t until Asdrubal Cabrera was traded to the Phillies a few days after being called up when McNeil finally got his chance to shine. He never looked back after that.

Speaking to the media, McNeil was fairly confident his “tryout” this year will lead to more opportunities next season:

“It’s awesome to come up here and have instant success. I’m 200 at-bats in and still hitting well. It gives me a lot of confidence going into next year.”

With Jose Reyes a free agent/contemplating retirement, and Amed Rosario starting to find his groove at shortstop, there is an open spot for an elite second baseman. While he has time to improve his ability on the field, McNeil has impressed enough at the plate to know he belongs.

Whether his molten lava of a streak continues to gain traction next season is unknown. From what we have seen, this doesn’t appear to be a one-shot deal. Come Spring Training, we could be seeing Peter Alonso, Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil at the forefront of the Mets’ lineup. The way they are playing now, it seems like an easy advantage.

It is clear, at the moment at least, that McNeil won’t need to fight for a roster spot next season. Mets fans are starting to see how special number 68 actually is, to the point of him potentially becoming the next big franchise player.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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