After the Cabrera trade last year the Mets finally called Jeff McNeil, despite his numbers in the minors demanding to be called up weeks before that. Last year the Mets were concerned about not playing McNeil at his position (second base). This year, they’re going to play in him the outfield (and at one point this was the Mets retort against signing Bryce Harper).
While all of this was going on, Jeff just flat out hit and instantly became a fan favorite:
2018: 248 PA, 225 AB, 3 HR, .329/.381/.471, 2.4 WAR, 119 DRC+
His WAR and DRC+ were on the higher side for the team despite only playing the last two months of the season. Coming back for a second season, we should expect to see a dip in stats, but how much?
(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )
While programs see a significant reduction in slash line stats, the average line of .278/.336/.432 still would have made McNeil one of the best hitters on the Mets last year. A DRC+110 in his sophomore year isn’t too bad either!
As a side note, Baseball Reference tends to be more conservative in their projections (similar to Baseball Prospectus), it’s interesting that its BR that has his OPS the highest, even more than ESPN which regularly over projects players.
If the Mets are successful this season it’s going to be because of Jeff McNeil. Let’s see what he can do in an encore performance!