New York Mets: Three Jeff McNeil predictions for the 2020 season
McNeil will move around the diamond, most likely to second base
Relying on Robinson Cano at this point to play a full season of baseball is like relying on Star Wars fans to be completely rational. You can ask for it, but it will never happen. Now obviously Mets fans would prefer to see less and less of Cano, but under the current leadership, Cano is getting as much playing time as he can handle. That being said, if his health comes into question again this year, expect McNeil to be moved to second base.
McNeil posted a generally solid .981 fielding percentage in 37 games at second base. Depending on health and the remainder of the offseason, McNeil’s replacement at third base would be either Jed Lowrie, or, and hopefully, this never comes to pass, J.D. Davis. Regardless of who replaces McNeil at the hot corner, McNeil’s defensive utility ensures he will have a spot anywhere in the lineup he is needed.
In the highly improbable scenario where Cano is healthy all year, McNeil will likely fill in where he is needed should the injury bug bite. Centerfield is a possibility should Brandon Nimmo head to the IL for an extended period, especially if the Mets aren’t confident in Jake Marisnick‘s offensive capability even under Chili Davis‘s tutelage. Left field is also a possibility, although the team may try to inflate Dom Smith’s value to trade him by having him play there if Davis is hurt.
Obviously Beltran and the Mets brain trust would like McNeil to stay at the hot corner all season, but health can be fickle, and McNeil is more than capable of stepping up and keeping the team competitive.