Mets: J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil finding more success at their old stomping grounds
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets teammates J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil have swapped positions and both are looking more comfortable at the spots they began the 2019 season at.
The New York Mets had a lot of plans for the 2020 season. One was to have Jeff McNeil at third base almost every game. McNeil is healthy and hitting. But he’s no longer playing third base as much as many expected.
Instead, McNeil has found himself back in left field. So what has happened to J.D. Davis? He’s at third base.
It’s not often where we see two players swap positions like this. Even rarer is when both men are trying to find a position and it works when they revert back to where they were.
This has been the case for Davis and McNeil over the last two years. McNeil came up as a second baseman but saw his spot occupied by Robinson Cano following a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Davis never really had a true position and spent a large part of 2019 in left field—the spot where McNeil opened the season at.
Throughout the 2019 season, McNeil bounced around as needed. Davis seemed destined to work on becoming a better left fielder. The plan wasn’t airtight and required both men to become more accustomed to a somewhat unfamiliar spot on the field.
To the surprise of many, McNeil has been the one struggling the most at his position in 2020. Some early errors at third base have resulted in a change to the way this club lines up defensively. Davis is now seeing regular action at third base with McNeil back in left field.
I hate to use the word “luxury” to describe what the Mets have on defense. There’s nothing luxurious about worrying how out-of-position many players are each game. Many at their natural positions also don’t look so natural.
Although it has been only a short time with Davis at third base and McNeil in left field, the results have been promising. McNeil looks more comfortable out there and Davis has been far from atrocious. In fact, he has looked pretty good times.
A change like this that could potentially upgrade the defense and can provide the Mets with a little peace of mind. Knowing they can count on Davis at third and McNeil in left can help the front office breathe a little easier. When winter arrives, they can focus less on trying to reconfigure their roster and more on adding to it.
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This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of McNeil at third base or Davis in left field. For the time being, this plan seems to be working better than the original one.