When you look at second base for the 2019 New York Mets, it is clear that Jeff McNeil has earned the starting job.
The New York Mets will enter the offseason in about a week with plenty of questions that need to be answered.
With that being said, there is one question that has been answered throughout the summer and that is at second base. It is clear that Jeff McNeil should go into spring training in 2019 as the frontrunner to start at second.
McNeil has shown the strong hit tool that he had in the minors this year at the major league level. In the first 57 games of his career, the 26-year-old has a slash line of .340/.394/.495 with 10 doubles, six triples, three home runs, and 19 RBIs.
Out of those 57 games, McNeil has had a multi-hit game in 19 of them (33 percent) and has had three or more hits in eight of them (four hits on three different occasions). Plus, he is hitting .370 in September and is four hits away from matching the hit total he had in August (34).
Since the Mets have larger needs to address this winter such as in the back end of the bullpen or at catcher to help a strong rotation, the infield is not a primary importance for this team. If the Mets had any questions about whether McNeil could handle the job going forward, he has proven otherwise.
With the Mets having a lot of power options in their lineup, they need a hitter like McNeil that can get on base and start rallies. According to FanGraphs, the line drive rate is at 23 percent and his groundball and flyball rates are practically identical (38 percent).
That’s extremely hard to find in this era of baseball.
Going into next year, a duo at the top of the order of McNeil and Amed Rosario could give the Mets the speed and contact hitting that will give their power bats more opportunities to drive in runs. McNeil’s success is part of the reason why the Mets have played well in the second half of the year (34-28 record).
If the Mets are going to go with the youth movement in the infield, then they are going to need to look to add veterans off the bench. In his column for the New York Post on Saturday, Joel Sherman talked about the Mets need to add veterans that can play both the infield and outfield.
One second base option that he mentioned was Eduardo Escobar. Escobar, who is going to be 30 in January, can play all over the infield (outside of first base) and he has played 45 career games in the outfield. He has 20+ home runs in each of the last two seasons and he can hit both lefties and righties.
The fact of the matter is that McNeil has earned getting the chance to start for the New York Mets at second base in 2019. The audition has gone well and he has shown no signs of slowing down as part of the youth movement has contributed to a successful second half.