The Mets starting lineup doesn’t have a weak link when Jose Iglesias starts

Jose Iglesias has earned more than starts against lefties.
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso are all now batting an identical .244 on the year. It’s quite astonishing as all three have gone through a malaise. The last few weeks for the New York Mets have been brilliant and raised the batting averages and other numbers for these three key players to a respectable level.

In fact, just about everyone in the regular Mets starting lineup is contributing. Well, that’s only when Jose Iglesias is at second base instead of Jeff McNeil.

A ridiculous 4 for 5 day at the plate on Friday against the Chicago Cubs added to an already terrific start Iglesias has had since his promotion. It’s now impossible for Carlos Mendoza to sit him against left-handed starters. With the way he’s performing, it might even be worth looking at how he hits against righties, too.

The Mets starting lineup is close to perfect when Jose Iglesias plays

Iglesias is 4 for 11 against righties. Yes, the sample size is small, but this guy is hitting in bunches. In games he has started, only one didn’t include a hit. This was the team’s loss to the Texas Rangers on Thursday when he received only 2 plate appearances.

Iglesias isn’t murdering the baseball. His exit velocity of 88.9 mph and hard-hit percentage of 37% are right around the league average. However, both are much higher than what he has done in the past. Iglesias has a career exit velocity of 84 mph and a hard-hit percentage of only 26.4%.

Somewhere between the dugout and batter’s box, Iglesias has bought into the new-age analytics. He’s hitting the ball harder than ever. The result is more playing time for the Mets and a much deeper lineup.

McNeil has had reverse splits this season, holding a .205/.285/.298 slash line against righties and .250/.290/.319 versus lefties. This alone tells us the best lineup possible is for Iglesias to play every day. Maybe against right-handed pitchers who struggle against lefties is the only time when it would make sense to start McNeil over Iglesias.

The scrappy second baseman hit just .202/.262/.303 in May and has seen those numbers dip to .189/.231/.216 in June. The playing time has reduced drastically this month with the emergence of Iglesias as more than a backup middle infielder.

Starts for McNeil at second base will start to diminish as Iglesias continues to have no troubles with pitchers of any kind. The Mets would love to get McNeil corrected. But with intentions of competing for a playoff spot, they need to do what gives them the best chance to win. Right now, that involves Iglesias in the lineup.