Jeff McNeil with a chance to join John Olerud on an exclusive franchise list

St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Al Bello/GettyImages

In 2,018 plate appearances spanning three seasons with the New York Mets, John Olerud did something no other player in franchise history did. He ended his time with the Mets batting .315. No other Mets player with 1500+ plate appearances has ever ended their time with the club hitting .300 or better.

Keith Hernandez came close at .297. Mike Piazza and David Wright each concluded their time with the Mets batting .296. Jeff McNeil, who looks much like himself in 2022 again, began the year right on the verge of batting .300 in his first 1,450 plate appearances. He started 2022 with a lifetime .299 batting average—all with the Mets.

A fourth season on his log hitting over .300 will push him onto the list with Olerud at the end of this year. How sustainable is it?

Jeff McNeil can become only the second Mets player in team history to bat over .300 for the club

The .300 batting average has typically been one reserved for the most elite hitters in the game. It doesn’t measure power. It neglects to take into account a batter’s eye, how many times they may strike out, or even how often they can expect to get on base.

Batting average is one of the most basic statistics out there yet an important one often overlooked in favor of on-base percentage. Single will always beat a walk. A walk is far too limiting and only advances batters one base at a time and not at all if they aren’t forced to move up. In many situations, singles get the runners’ circuits moving more.

McNeil’s place on the Mets is far different from Olerud’s. Now over 1,600 plate appearances into his Mets career, the only time we saw any kind of pop was in 2019 when he blasted 23 home runs. McNeil has reverted back to his contact-first approach in 2022. On pace to have numbers similar to what he did in 2018 and 2020, it should help him enter the .300 club occupied by only one other player in franchise history.

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