Jeff McNeil – LF
2021 was a very rough year for Jeff McNeil. He missed a month due to injury and just didn’t appear to be the same guy that he has been in the past. McNeil slashed .249/.317/.358 with seven home runs and 35 RBI.
McNeil was a guy everyone expected to hit .300 and be a table-setter at the top of the order. Unfortunately, he did not do that this season.
While the numbers did not look good, I think McNeil hit into a lot of bad luck. He had a .276 BAbip. Typically, hitters have a BAbip around .300. For a contact hitter like McNeil, having a low BAbip usually means they will have a rough season.
McNeil was very similar to the hitter he’s always been. He’s a guy that’s known to put bat on ball and avoid strikeouts. He was in the 94th percentile in K% and the 87th percentile in whiff rate according to baseball savant. That means he still was avoiding strikeouts and was putting the bat on ball.
With his BAbip hopefully going back to the mean, I expect McNeil to be similar to his old self.
I have McNeil playing in left field with the additions of Ramirez and Baez. McNeil is really playable pretty much anywhere on the diamond.
In left field in 2021 he put had 1 DRS and in 2019 in a large sample size he also put up 1 DRS. He’s not elite but he’s not Dom Smith in left field.
While ideally, I’d want him playing second base, McNeil is playable in left field and other positions as well. Having a guy like that who can play a bunch of positions is incredibly valuable.