Thursday, July 25, 2019

Amazin' Year For McNeil

Jeff McNeil. @Mets.

Jeff McNeil made his Mets debut one year ago, July 24, 2018, with the expectation was that he could be a solid hitter in the Major Leagues, and he has certainly surpassed all expectations.

McNeil has the second-highest batting average in the past calendar year at .337, trailing only Christian Yelich of Milwaukee (.345).

There is another category that McNeil has the edge, and that is in this year's race for the National League batting title. McNeil is hitting .342 to Yelich's .335 and Cody Bellinger's .333.

McNeil, who has nine home runs and 41 RBI this season, is second in the National League with 38 multi-hit games, is fourth in the NL in on-base percentage at .402, is hitting .371 with runners in scoring position (fifth in the NL), and is sixth in the league in doubles with 26.

McNeil was named an All-Star this season, joining teammates Pete Alonso, who also anchors the Mets' batting order, and defending Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom in Cleveland a couple weeks ago.

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway, in his pregame press conference on Wednesday afternoon, said of the hitter McNeil has grown into, "I don't think it's evolved; it was just there from Day One, it seems like. He's been hitting the ball ever since he came up a year ago, but there's no doubt he's evolved as a Major League Baseball player. 

"His ability to play multiple positions, do it comfortably, do it at an elite level, in my opinion, has been uncanny, and been quite a surprise to all of us. Then, his ability to put the ball in play, get hits, understand what's coming, use the information that he's given, makes him the type of hitter he is, and that's a hitter that's going to go up there - no matter who the pitcher is and no matter what their arsenal is - and give us a chance to get on base every single time. 

"It's been pretty special to watch for a year. I think that everybody in our organization knew this kid could hit when he was healthy in the Minor Leagues, but you couldn't ever expect this. This is just something that happens because the kid's a gamer, he never takes a pitch off, and he's got the willpower to go do it."

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