New York Mets’ spring training standouts: Jeff McNeil

Andres Chavez
Jul 14, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil (6) rounds the bases after a lead off home run against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

If we are talking pure hitters in MLB, there is no denying that the New York Mets‘ Jeff McNeil is among the most talented.

He is a career .321/.383/.513 hitter in 196 games and 815 plate appearances. His sweet line-drive stroke from the left side of the plate produces lots of hits and, also, his fair share of home runs.

MLB had to suspend Cactus League and Grapefruit League play because of coronavirus concerns. The virus is spreading rapidly around the globe, and other professional leagues took a similar road. Most of them, to be fair.

That leaves the New York Mets and its fans waiting for baseball. But as we wait, we can praise the players that had the best stat lines in the abbreviated spring training, and one of them was, without a doubt, Jeff McNeil.

The Mets’ hitting machine had a .462 average

McNeil led the Mets in spring training batting average, with .462. He had 12 hits in 26 at-bats, and four of them went for extra bases. With three doubles and a home run, he showed in February and March that the power stroke he had last season (23 homers in 2019) wasn’t a fluke.

In 10 Grapefruit League games in 2020, McNeil slashed .462/.500/.692 with a 1.192 OPS. He had a walk and struck out only two times, which shows he is as difficult an out as anybody in the league.

He crossed the plate in six occasions, and drove in a couple of runs. Whenever the 2020 starts, McNeil will be the Mets’ sparkplug, likely batting behind on-base machine Brandon Nimmo and before the big sluggers, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Robinson Cano and company. The “Flying Squirrel” is a sure bet to score plenty of runs in what is shaping up to be a terrific offense.

Of course, we don’t know when the season will start. The Mets are left waiting, as are all the teams in the league. MLB decided to follow CDC’s recommendations, which means that there can’t be any gatherings of 50 people or more until mid-to-late May. June and July are being discussed as possible dates to start the season, but nothing is official and likely won’t be for a while.