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.
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.
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.
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…
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