Jeff McNeil can earn a little more trust by reminding us he is the team’s second baseman and nobody is taking the job away
After the 2018 season, it looked like McNeil had second base locked up. Then Robinson Cano came to New York.
Since then, McNeil has been moving around the field a little bit more than usual. In 2021, with Cano suspended for the entire year, McNeil still found his way into left field frequently later on in the year. His relationship with Francisco Lindor may have been one reason why. More so, it was the presence of Javier Baez on the roster.
The Mets are built a little differently this season. Baez is gone and second base is McNeil’s to reclaim. He’ll need to prove himself there yet again by making his bat too good to take out of the lineup.
Defensively, McNeil has been above-average at second base. He doesn’t get much credit for it. He’s not flashy. He makes the plays he needs to and does a little extra. Although some of his metrics don’t measure out positively on the defensive side of things, he is no butcher. His greatest skill continues to be the flexibility to do more than just play second base. However, at least for this season, it’s where the Mets should need him most.
If McNeil can raise his batting average up again and proceed as normal on defense, our trust shouldn’t be hard to earn back.