Jeff McNeil has a simple explanation for his success with runners in scoring position

St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Jeff McNeil is hitting .313 heading into the weekend series against the Colorado Rockies. All is good for the versatile New York Mets second baseman, sometimes left fielder.

McNeil has been especially good with runners in scoring position. Through 39 at-bats, he’s slashing .385/.431/.513. He’s taking advantage of every opportunity he can get to drive in his teammates.

What’s the secret? McNeil is going back to the basics by keeping it simple and looking for a line drive up the middle.

Jeff McNeil is one of the hottest Mets hitters with RISP

Pete Alonso will probably win the team RBI title but let’s not sleep on McNeil being one of the club’s most prolific run-producers. With regular plate appearances lower in the lineup, he may actually put together one of those low home run, high RBI seasons.

A criticism McNeil has drawn from fans is his tendency to look for the home run. He came up as a .300 hitter only to discover the magical wonders of a round-tripper later on in 2019. His power numbers surged and he finished the year with 23 of them. It was such an outlier of a performance, he has only 15 dingers combined in the other 1500+ plate appearances he has had.

If you ask most Mets fans which version of McNeil they would prefer, it’s probably this one.

McNeil tragically didn’t have much of anything to praise last year. He batted 60 points lower than his previous personal low. Through about a fourth of the 2022 season, it doesn’t look like he’s going to end the year with anything close to his weak performance last year. He’s tracking well to more closely match what he did in 2018 and 2020 with the RBI production from 2019 minus the home runs.

The Mets are looking wiser and wiser for not trading McNeil over the winter. Imagine if they had. Second base might currently be occupied by a fading Robinson Cano or Luis Guillorme whose remains best-suited for the bench.

McNeil isn’t trying to be anything that he isn’t. One has to wonder if the addition of Eric Chavez is indeed a reason as to why he has gotten back to the basics.

Like when your spouse brings you breakfast in bed or does the dishes for you, McNeil is reminding us why we fell in love with him all over again.

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