Even if the New York Mets don’t pull off a second-half miracle, there are some notable storylines fans can be encouraged about.
Expect to hear the phrase “we’re a second-half team” from the New York Mets this year. The “too little, too late” catchphrase of losing baseball teams everywhere offers little consolation when you’ve dug yourself into such a big hole in the first half.
Nevertheless, the Mets do offer us a few things to watch in the second half of 2019. Even if the postseason isn’t the final destination, I’ll be eagerly watching these three storylines unfold.
Will Jeff McNeil win a batting title?
Something that hasn’t quite settled in for many of us is how Jeff McNeil may win a freakin’ batting title. Jose Reyes is the only man to ever do so. If McNeil can pull this off, he’ll have a place in Mets history. Someone call Brienne of Tarth and request she add these to his Great Deeds.
Winning a batting title is no easy task. However, if McNeil continues to hit at his career average above .333, he should have a really good chance.
Since Reyes’ .337 batting average in 2011, only DJ LeMahieu’s .348 average has won the batting title with a higher number. Last year, Christian Yelich took the National League batting title with a .326 batting average with second-place finisher Scooter Gennett at .310. Back in 2014, Justin Morneau won a batting title at only .319.
To put it another way, McNeil may not have much competition by season’s end.
The MLB schedule is a long one. Guys like Yelich and Cody Bellinger are having MVP worthy seasons. The big advantage McNeil has over them is how he doesn’t rely on the home run ball. He hits to contact and will add to his average with singles and doubles. Occasionally, he’ll pop one over the fence.
A batting title from McNeil would definitely help make this season somewhat salvageable. Although fans prefer to see wins over individual achievements, I don’t think anyone would be saddened to see this underdog win his first major award.