Two of the newest New York Mets, Austin Jackson and Jeff McNeil, are leading the offense with regular, timely hits.
Specifically, two of the noobs on this team have taken over the offense. Veteran outfielder Austin Jackson has been on fire of late. Following a brief slump, rookie Jeff McNeil has exploded at the plate.
Minus Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, and other big bats, the Mets are now putting out a regular lineup short on talent. Amed Rosario is batting leadoff with mixed results. Wilmer Flores is anchoring the middle of the order in yet another productive season.
Around Flores, Jackson and McNeil are carrying the Mets to the plate. Each is consistently coming up with timely hits and not stopping short at one. Each had three hits on Monday, helping to secure a win.
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When the Mets signed Jackson in late July, we all had to question why. The rest of 2018 was supposed to dedicate itself to letting the kids play. By adding Jackson, at-bats were taken away from others. Although, we can ask just who those at-bats would have gone to.
Matt den Dekker was playing center field for the Mets before Jackson arrived. The brief experiment was a total bust as den Dekker failed to pick up a single hit in almost two dozen opportunities. The move added a little more depth to the team but has since turned into a wise move with Jackson hitting well.
As for McNeil, is anyone really surprised? The kid dominated the minor leagues this year. Whether this is the real McNeil or not is unclear. While I doubt he’s ever winning a batting title, there’s no doubt this guy can get on a hot streak. He’s seeing the ball well and doesn’t seem fazed by the pressures of playing in the big leagues. His early .364 batting average has left us all amazed at just how quickly he adjusts to MLB pitching.
This isn’t how the Mets wrote up the year. In early August, Cespedes should have been competing for MVP votes. With Bruce and Todd Frazier near him in the lineup, the threat of a home run would strike fear in opposing pitchers each night.
Instead, we’re seeing a journeyman outfielder who was released and a guy who began the year as a non-prospect thrive with the Mets. It’s disappointing to see that this is the high point of the year following the 11-1 start.
However, for these two men, it’s fun to watch.
Jose Bautista can’t buy a hit right now and Brandon Nimmo‘s batting average will soon meet Michael Conforto‘s on the wrong side of .240. If this is all you knew about the team right now, you would think scoring would be impossible.
Thanks to a few unlikely heroes doing more than expected, the offense has some life in it.
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Combined, Jackson and McNeil have played only 21 games for the Mets as of Tuesday. In this short span, they’ve given this team a spark it has lacked for months.