The New York Mets recently promoted infielder Jeff McNeil to Triple-A Las Vegas and he is quickly on the rise in the organization.
If you would go back to the beginning of the season, two names in the New York Mets organization you would most remember at Double-A Binghamton would be Tim Tebow and Peter Alonso. However, there is one infielder that recently got promoted to Triple-A along with Alonso that deserves the attention.
His name is Jeff McNeil.
McNeil was selected by the New York Mets in the 12th Round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Long Beach State. Before being promoted to Las Vegas, he had a slash line of .327/.402/.626 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 57 games for the Rumble Ponies.
You will not find McNeil on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Mets prospect list. With that being said, his performances on the field do deserve mention.
Back on May 13, he hit for the cycle for the first time in his career. The cycle was part of a month in which he hit .340 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs. Here is the video of the home run that got him the cycle courtesy of MILB.com
One of the things that McNeil could provide the New York Mets is his ability to play all over the infield. He has played over 100 games in his career at second base and third base and has made a few appearances at shortstop. With Asdrubal Cabrera a free agent at the end of the year and the lack of depth in the organization at third base, McNeil should get chances to shine at those positions going forward.
All throughout baseball, we have seen the term launch angle used frequently. That term can apply to McNeil this season with the way he put the ball in the air. According to FanGraphs, the 26-year-old hit a flyball 49.7 percent of the time at Binghamton. Last year, at High-A St. Lucie, that number was only at 38.3 percent.
In addition to the flyball rate, McNeil has also done a good job this year of cutting down on the strikeouts. His K rate was at 9.5 percent with Binghamton and that number was up to 16.4 percent a year ago. He has made the adjustments he has needed to make to get a shot at Triple-A (FanGraphs).
If the Mets do decide they want to trade Cabrera at the July 31st deadline, you would have to think McNeil would be one of those players that the team could call up and give him two months to try to prove himself at the big league. Of course, that all depends on what he does in Las Vegas where he hit .254 in 18 games a year ago.
The Mets have not seen many players make their Major League debut from their 2013 draft class. In fact, there have been only three players that have received a call-up and played in a game. One of them came up this year (Luis Guillorme) and the other two players were Dominic Smith and Kevin McGowan.
While McNeil may not be a top prospect, putting up great numbers in the minor leagues will always bring attention and put your name on the radar in the organization. He has done just that as he is now just a call and a long flight away from being up in Queens.
Whether a rebuild happens at Citi Field or not, McNeil should be a name New York Mets keep an eye on in Las Vegas for as long as he is there.