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Three Mets players we could see end 2021 as a league leader

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates with teammate Jeff McNeil #6 after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates with teammate Jeff McNeil #6 after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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PORT ST. LUCIE, FL – MARCH 08: Jeff McNeil #6 of the New York Mets in action against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Mets potential batting champ, Jeff McNeil

In his first three MLB seasons, Jeff McNeil has hit .311 or higher. His bat on ball skills are some of the best in all of baseball and I see no reason for him to not hit for an extremely high average this season.

With the way the Mets roster is set up currently, I would expect Jeff McNeil to be hitting second in the batting order consistently. If that happens he will likely have guys like Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto among others hitting behind him. With that being said, he will get a ton of pitches to hit with the great protection the big bats behind him provide.

I expect Jeff McNeil to be right in the thick of the race for the batting title and I’d give him a very good shot at winning it.

In 2019, his only full season, McNeil slashed .318/.384/.531 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI. With that superb stat line, McNeil was two different hitters that season. In the first half, he was all about putting bat on ball. He slashed an absurd .349/.409/.509 with seven home runs and 36 RBI.

He was not hitting home runs at an elite rate but he was leading the league in batting with the .349 clip. He was hitting leadoff and was a table-setter for eventual Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso and others.

In the second half, McNeil was an entirely different hitter. He slashed .276/.353/.561 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI. The batting average was much lower, and the home runs skyrocketed.

McNeil was pulling pretty much everything and was also striking out at a higher clip. He struck out 38 times in 317 at-bats in the first half and 37 times in 221 at-bats in the second half.

While he was extremely valuable in the second half, he was still the better player in the first half which led him to his first All-Star Game appearance. McNeil went back to his first half of 2019 form this past season, as he slashed .311/.383/.454 with four home runs and 23 RBI.

When McNeil was fully healthy in September, he hit .356.

McNeil is a career .319 hitter and has never had protection like he will have this season in the batting order. I fully expect him to hit at least .320 which puts him in clear contention for the National League batting title. The 2019 batting title winner, Christian Yelich, hit .329 in 2019 which was the last full season. This is a number I expect McNeil to come close to if not eclipse, and that gives him an excellent shot.

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