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NY Mets outfielder Billy McKinney should not be dismissed

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Billy McKinney #60 of the New York Mets reacts after hitting a RBI double as Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres looks on in the fifth inning at Citi Field on June 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Billy McKinney #60 of the New York Mets reacts after hitting a RBI double as Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres looks on in the fifth inning at Citi Field on June 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Billy McKinney is capturing our imaginations. Since joining the New York Mets, he has been one of the team’s best hitters. He’s hitting for power, driving in runs, and consistently getting on base. He’s doing what a lot of Mets didn’t do in the first two months of the season and making a great case to stick around a little longer.

Naturally, not everyone is a fan. Some clown over on Twitter shared a screenshot of his career totals to make some sort of point. I’m not sure exactly what it is. Is he trying to tell me these two weeks have been fool’s gold?

This is certainly possible. Sample size is important. However, equally as noteworthy is the age of the player. McKinney, who won’t turn 27 until August, is very much a possible late-bloomer. He’s one of the younger players on the Mets roster. Could it be that the Mets have finally found a castoff from another team to produce in their uniform for years to come?

At 26-years-old, Billy McKinney is a former first-round draft pick who may have simply bloomed late and can continue to grow as a member of the Mets

I won’t get too much into numbers because McKinney doesn’t have enough of them at the big leagues to really know what he can or cannot do. Although he has played in the majors each year since 2018 (at least partly), he only crossed over 162 games last season.

Mediocre offensive statistics you might only accept from a Gold Glove candidate or a catcher you debate on batting ninth, his career hasn’t gone as planned. Only a few months older than Pete Alonso and essentially the same age as Jacob deGrom when he made his MLB debut, there are years for McKinney to put it all together.

Putting on my flashiest and most optimistic hat, what if he does become a legitimate big league player?

It may seem like more players in this game leave the Mets and star elsewhere. It’s definitely something you can claim. A lot of guys have left Flushing and shined elsewhere.

The scales might not be as tilted in the wrong direction as you may think. R.A. Dickey is the best example of the last decade to join the Mets and shine. On the current team, Taijuan Walker is doing things he has never done before. Back in 2019, we saw J.D. Davis do the same.

Let’s not get too caught up in what Amos Otis did in the 1970s. Even if every player the Mets ever did let go became a star elsewhere, there’s no scientific backing to suggest the trend would continue.

McKinney has a lot more to prove before I’m ready to anoint him a contender for a starting role for the Mets at any point in the near future. Still vying for a permanent bench role, it has become impossible to remove him from this roster.

Call me crazy, but I love a left-handed stick on the bench that can hit with some power. Having him as the team’s fourth or fifth outfielder for the next few seasons could end up making him one of the team’s most fantastic finds.

Noah Syndergaard's 2021 goal. Next

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I’m clearly on Team McKinney so please excuse me while I enjoy everything he brings to the Mets with orange and blue colored glasses.

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