The New York Mets have had a very disappointing season and a huge reason for that is the production offensively. From top to bottom, this team has either not been healthy or just not produced. One of the big bats that hasn’t gotten the job done this year is Jeff McNeil. He is slashing .249/.316/.355 with six home runs and 33 RBI.
With Jeff McNeil, we are used to a .300+ hitter with solid pop and good defense at a bunch of positions. This just hasn’t been the case this year. He missed a month due to injury and has struggled pretty much all year.
Despite these struggles, I believe the Mets should not trade Jeff McNeil this offseason.
This offseason presents a lot of uncertainty with a ton of players hitting the free-agent market. Michael Conforto, Javier Baez, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Loup, just to name a few. The Mets are likely not going to re-sign everyone and also add on to the roster so they need to build with what they have. Jeff McNeil is someone they should be building around.
I believe this season has been poor, but very unlucky for McNeil. He is still the same type of hitter he has always been. He’s in the 94th percentile in K%, the 84th percentile in Whiff%, and the 90th percentile in Outs Above Average according to baseball savant. He is putting the ball in play and is playing good defense at second base and left field.
McNeil’s average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and barrel percentage are all up considerably from where they were last year as well. McNeil’s numbers are down because he has a .278 BAbip. The average mark is around .300. He is putting the ball in play and hitting the ball harder than he did last year when he hit .311, they are just finding gloves.
Adam Frazier is a similar type of hitter. He’s someone who puts the ball in play a ton, plays good defense, and doesn’t hit very many home runs. His average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and barrel percentage are all lower than McNeil this season and he’s hitting .308 and was an all-star starter. This is due to him having a .359 BAbip in the first half.
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I don’t think I have any reason to believe he won’t bounce back next year as long as he stays healthy. With an improved bat and the added defensive versatility with the uncertainty regarding guys like Baez and Conforto, McNeil can be plugged in the infield and outfield and that will prove to be extremely valuable for 2022 and beyond. I’d consider extending him more than I’d look to trade him.