Jeff McNeil sets a new personal record in a year without too many highs

Jeff McNeil has managed to stay healthy and available this season for the Mets.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Jeff McNeil’s 2023 season has gone the way it did for most of his teammates. The reigning National League batting champion saw his slash line totals dip in a big way. This will be only the second season with the New York Mets where he won’t hit over .300.

McNeil has done something somewhat overlooked really well. Having now played in 149 games this season with number 149 including a game-winning home run, he has set a personal record for the most game in any MLB season. For those keeping score, the Mets have played 150 total games. His only full day of rest came on June 24 when he sat in a Saturday victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Participating in 149 games hardly makes him the Cal Ripken Jr. of the Mets. He already topped 600 plate appearances for the first time. Although the results haven’t always been there, McNeil remains a valuable asset to the Mets, maybe more so than ever with other second base options calling for more playing time and two big openings at other positions.

Once again, Jeff McNeil helped the NY Mets survive the season by playing all over and this time nearly every game

This wasn’t a particularly mobile year for McNeil in terms of where he played. Second base was his for most of the year. Lots of starts at the two corner outfield positions were also made available in large part due to the injury suffered by Starling Marte and absence of a regular left fielder following the trade deadline.

McNeil did get his first looks at first base, shortstop, and center field this season, too. He has now logged at least one inning everywhere except at pitcher and catcher.

We know if the Mets do keep McNeil he’ll be right there in the starting lineup moving forward. Exactly where in the order and at what position is a bit trickier.

When at his best, McNeil works well as a number two hitter. Would the Mets stockpile a pair of lefties at the top of their order? They’ve been hesitant this year. McNeil isn’t much of a power hitter either so putting him in the middle doesn’t work either.

His position isn’t quite as tricky as long as the Mets are willing to accept they won’t have much power at all from a position where you typically want it. Ronny Mauricio has earned his way into heavy consideration for next year’s starting second base job. Where does this leave McNeil?

Voids in left field and even at third base because of our lack of trust in Brett Baty are two of those answers. Left field seems to make a little more sense as any internal options for the club would be changing positions to fill it.