Is Jeff McNeil Overrated And More Valuable As A Trade Prospect

Jeff McNeil - Mets Overachiever and magician with the bat

Jeff McNeil is a career .313 hitter for the Mets in an era when pitching dominates, but at some point, can he prove more valuable in a trade?

It’s not as though Jeff McNeil doesn’t earn his keep as a New York Met. He’s been one of the team’s most consistent hitters through good and bad times.

But if there were to come a time when the Sandy Alderson and the Mets brain trust are looking at obtaining that one player who could push the Mets over the top in 2021, Jeff McNeil qualifies as the player who can yield the most in return – without getting ridiculous suggesting Jacob deGrom.

Pete Rose Statue, Great American Ballpark (Photo: daytondailynews.com)
Pete Rose Statue, Great American Ballpark (Photo: daytondailynews.com)

The question posed in the title about McNeil being “overrated” is an interesting one worthy of exploration because sometimes batting averages can be misleading in running production for a player’s team.

For example, Pete Rose is the self-proclaimed “Hit King” in all of baseball, and of that, he is correct as for the all-time leader in base hits. But upon examination, we find that three-fourths of his hits were singles.

Similarly, all of these 3000+ hits Hall of Famers saw the preponderance of their hits fall as singles: Derek Jeter (2,595), Ichiro Suzuki (2,514), Rod Carew (2,404), and Tony Gwynn (2,378).

Taking nothing away from any of these players, we find that Jeff McNeil is rather an oddball in the group of high-average hitters, thereby increasing his overall value.

Jeff McNeil’s Value Is An Oddity

In his relatively brief career, fully one-third or 105 of Jeff McNeil’s 310 hits have gone for extra bases. While McNeil will never have the longevity to reach the heights of those cited above, his separation from them should be duly noted.

Jeff McNeil has not shown himself yet as those career stats depict this year. He’s batting .230 with 2HR and 6RBI, with a 0.6 WAR instead of his career 10.6 WAR.

Jeff McNeil - Mets All-Star Second Baseman (Photo: USA Today)
Jeff McNeil – Mets All-Star Second Baseman (Photo: USA Today)

So, there can be a concern even at this stage of the season that maybe McNeill has “reached his Harvard”.

So, if the Mets need to, they should feel no hesitation in trading him for a center fielder, or even another starting pitcher at the deadline this year.

It’s too early to tell whether the Mets will be buyers or sellers in July, but there should be some thought given (now) either way.

The pitching is the crux of their team, so there would seem to be no way the Mets would be giving any of it up (no matter what) to gain a player or two who can put them over the top (I hate to say it but remember Yoenis Cespedes in 2015?).

A scan of the Mets Triple-A Roster in Syracuse reveals few if any prospects that might interest teams at the deadline, so if the Mets are going to go this route to a Championship, the tradeoffs will need to come from the active roster and one that includes McNeil.

No One Wants To See Jeff McNeil Traded, But…

The Question of who the Mets need at the time and will pursue is not what you or I get paid for. Nor is the question of who the Mets brain trust decides to include in a trade.

But if the Mets are going for the big one – the guy who can put them over the top – and unless Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, and Francisco Lindor are not automatically crossed off the list as “tradable,” then what does that leave but McNeil?

I’m not pushing the Mets to trade McNeil, and for all we know, there may be no need to as the deadline approaches, and the Mets can stay quiet at the deadline.

Just a bit of food for thought…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Sean Connor Flannery

Ahhhh yes another terrible take from “reflections on baseball”
What’s new

Jeff Dickson

Absolutely not!

Sean Connor Flannery

“He’s batting .230 with 2HR and 6RBI, with a 0.6 WAR instead of his career 10.6 WAR.”
Do you even know how to use WAR in a sentence? Because based on this it sounds like you have n out a clue.
All I ask as a fellow writer is to do a little bit more reading of others and researching before just writing down whatever pops into your head.

Steve Contursi

Author
Sean Connor Flannery I don’t wish to start a war here, and again without objection I’ll add this comment too, but trades take place based on a player’s overall career stats. With five months remaining in the season, isn’t it reasonable those stats can be expected to rise? Though, I must object to the inference “as a fellow writer”, I don’t know what WAR is…

Alex Garcia

I AGREE……… We can’t afford him and Alonso. I rather have Alonso and trade McNeil for Kris Bryant even as a rental

Stephen Steele

I would’ve looked to trade him last offseason

Stephen Steele

Sure, Steve. Here’s more: McNeil, at 28, is a late bloomer and is at, or is very close to his peak. How would fans like it now if they had traded him for Bryant in the off-season? Fans have to forget these “long-range plans”. There are no more long-range plans. Every year is zero-sum. Any year you have a shot at a ring – like the Mets think they do this year – you have to go all in.

Jason Yost

With the MLB overflowing with 2nd baseman, eligible players, the team that would be making the trade to put the Mets over the top, would have to make a “History-Making Mistake” (HMM)!!
Just my opinion. Besides having the best Starting Pitcher, who is on a level that everyone else has to look up to see they have questions after questions, with very few answers. The #1 Question that has no known answer is spelled: Steven A. Cohen. 👀

Joseph T Bonanno

Keep the Squirrel!

Angelo Borrero

Why would anybody entertain that thought right now when we’re working on putting together a championship team.. and he’s earned his status on our team and he still a young player.
Art Scott

Anyone and everyone CAN be more valuable in a trade, but you’ve got to get someone to overpay, and that’s the hard part. As it stands, it makes absolutely zero sense to get rid of McNeil. Not only is he one of our best hitters, but he’s also playing an excellent 2b so far (+0.4 dWar even at this early part of the season, which puts him on gold glove pace).
Howard S Rosenberg

Jeff’s problem is, he sees himself as a slugger! He needs to get back to just making contact, and the home runs will come.

 

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.