At 2-3, New York Mets fans are getting a bad feeling about this team. You would think feeling this way could only occur if they were playing a six-game season. We’re not even through the second series of the season upon the publication of this article.
Michael Conforto has already been booed, Jacob deGrom has been let down twice by his teammates, and fans are beginning to squirm.
Amidst the heartache, there has been one major disappointment I feel rises above it all. It’s the performance we have seen from Jeff McNeil.
Usually a guy we can count on, Jeff McNeil has been the coldest Mets player all 2021 long
McNeil didn’t enter the regular season swinging a hot bat. In spring, he slashed a ridiculously poor .109/.255/.239. Atypical of a guy like him, the rust would surely rub off quickly once the games mattered.
This hasn’t been the case so far in the 2021 regular season. McNeil is batting .077/.250/.308 through his first 16 plate appearances. His lone hit was the game-tying home run hit on his birthday versus the Miami Marlins just a few batters before Michael Conforto took one to the elbow with the bases juiced.
Unusually bad for someone so good in the first three major league seasons, it’s a huge shock to see him already batting near the bottom of the order so soon into the year. Is there something we don’t know?
There’s no obvious explanation for this slow start
Where is Cher when you need her to slap McNeil and tell him to “snap out of it?” With no open explanation as to why McNeil has struggled so much out of the gate, I’m at a loss as to try to explain it to little children who see his current batting average and scream in terror.
I thought, perhaps, March and April may have been a weak month for McNeil. Because of a late call-up in 2018 and no spring games in 2020, we only have the 2019 season to look at.
McNeil was awesome to start off the 2019 campaign. In March/April, he slashed .336/.432/.478. So, the excuse of “spring allergies” which my parents used to use for me whenever I had a bad little league season is thrown out the door. You’d think one year my parents would have just realized I was a bad athlete who needed glasses.
We can only speculate at this point as to what is eating away at McNeil’s numbers. My first leap is to think something physical is going on. He’s a tough mental player and for the first time in two years, he’s nestled in at a single position.
There’s no distraction over a contract, no mystery of what position he will play, and the best vibe around the team to start the season since he became a major leaguer. Why is it that McNeil has failed to hit all 2021-year-long?
McNeil didn’t make my list of early slumpers to worry about because he has yet to go a season without a .300 batting average. All killers have a cooling-off period. Maybe this killer of baseballs is just going through his right now.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Lock your windows, bolt your doors, and keep your head on a swivel opposing starting pitchers; McNeil may have disappeared for now but he’ll surely get back to normalcy soon enough.