Mets: Jeff McNeil immune to the 2018 Citi Field slump plague
By Tim Boyle
Throughout 2018, the New York Mets have had trouble hitting at home. The lone exception is Jeff McNeil whose numbers are far superior.
Is there anything Jeff McNeil can’t do right? The rookie second baseman has been terrific since his summer promotion to the New York Mets.
One specific area he has excelled where few have this year is hitting at home in the unfriendly confines of Citi Field. He, by far, owns the best home numbers of anyone who has suited up for the team this season.
The Mets open their final homestand of the year with only four men batting over .300 at Citi Field. McNeil is the only one currently on the roster.
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The other three are Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Matt Harvey. The first two left early this year with season-ending injuries and the latter was a pitcher who was traded.
Simply put: McNeil is in a class of his own.
The sample size of seeing McNeil hit at Citi Field expands to only 22 games, but in those 73 at-bats, he has looked amazing. He’s slashing .438/.481/.616 with a home run and a trio of triples. While in Queens, McNeil has as many walks as he does strikeouts, too. We’ve seen the best of him. It’s a refreshing scene in a year of offensive ineptitude on their own turf.
A season-long slump at home for the offense has not infected McNeil. In a year where just about all of the regulars and even most of the irregulars are batting below .250 outside of their road greys, this young man has been an outlier of success.
Citi Field has not been a pleasant place to call home in 2018. With only a handful of games left, the team returns to Queens with a 33-42 home record. At best, they can finish with 39 wins.
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I’m not sure how the Mets solve this issue of not hitting at home. Until cloning is part of the player’s agreement and they can put eight McNeils in their lineup, we’ll have to hope the rest of the team figures it out.