As if Jeff McNeil didn’t already have enough reasons to win a batting title, Francisco Lindor gave him another. Exactly one year ago, the New York Mets double play combo got into an altercation in the tunnel of the dugout. This gave way to the “ratcoon” storyline which followed them throughout the season and remains fresh in our minds because of its ridiculousness.
All seems to be good between the two. Winning and playing well can help those matters.
Hoping to possibly improve the friendship further and see his teammate succeed, Lindor has promised McNeil he’d buy him a car if he wins a batting title this year.
Everything is copacetic between Mets teammates Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil
Lindor is clearly hinting that it might not be a fancy European sports car and possibly something more miniature. Either way, it’s nice to see these two not completely ignore each other. With Robinson Cano out of the picture, they’re going to be playing alongside each other almost daily.
And while this could be a simple gag, we all do want the payoff in the end. Even if McNeil knows he’s not going to get something he can fit more than a fingernail into, the friendly challenge from the Mets shortstop should be enough to push him a little harder.
McNeil appears prepared to challenge for a batting title. Through 98 plate appearances, he’s hitting .348. It’s one of the best among all hitters in either league. The difference between McNeil and many of them is he might be a little more sustainable.
Prior to his major 2021 slump, McNeil had seasons of hitting .329, .318, and .311. Perhaps a little light in some seasons, last year’s batting title in the National League went to Trea Turner who hit .328.
McNeil looks like his best self again. He’s not swinging for the fences like he has been caught doing in the past. He isn’t even hitting the ball all that hard—currently at 26.9% compared to last year at 33.6%. Of course, the difference is that McNeil is hitting it where they ain’t.
Whether it’s a Lamborghini, Mustang, or a Big Wheel, Lindor has issued a challenge to McNeil. Could he be only the second player in Mets history to win a batting title? If anyone can, it’s him.