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NY Mets: Mid-term grades for the 5 starting infielders

May 8, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jeff McNeil (6) celebrates his home run with New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) against Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) in the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jeff McNeil (6) celebrates his home run with New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) against Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) in the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
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Jun 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jeff McNeil (6) throws an Atlanta Braves runner out at first base during the fourth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil – D

Jeff McNeil’s D grade comes in large part to an excessive number of absences. He was also learning in an advanced class. Like me in 8th grade when I got a D in the “smart kid’s” math class, McNeil’s expectations may need to be lowered. His career has suggested an ability to easily hit over .300. Unfortunately, this year hasn’t been very good at all for the once always reliable second baseman.

What surprises me most about McNeil’s disappointing season is how perfectly set up he was to have another awesome year. He’s no longer bouncing around the field on defense. Second base is his.

We do have two excuses to possibly use for McNeil’s struggles. In the early part of the season, sticky substances might have had something to do with it. Later on, post-injury, perhaps it’s a lack of rhythm or maybe even a non-fully healthy McNeil that has caused him to hit well below what we know he can do.

I haven’t given up on McNeil finishing this year with a B grade. So far though, we haven’t seen much at all.

Offense has been putrid around Major League Baseball this year. McNeil is one guy I thought would be immune to it. His ability to put the bat on the ball hasn’t had the same favorable results as it has in the past. I’m keeping faith in him but not ready to believe he’ll do much more than have an average year.

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