Now that the 2023 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of the season from A (Abraham Almonte) to W (Josh Walker). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at second baseman Jeff McNeil.
Player Review: Jeff McNeil
2023 Stats: 156 Games, 585 At Bats, .270 Batting Average, 158 Hits, 25 Doubles, 4 Triples, 10 Home Runs, 55 RBIs, 75 Runs Scored, 10 Stolen Bases, 39 Walks, .711 OPS, 2.3 WAR
Story: Fresh off a National League batting title in 2022, Jeff McNeil entered camp feeling secure in his future with the Mets after the team gave him a four-year contract extension in January. McNeil missed part of spring training while playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic but it didn’t impact him early on as he hit .288 through the first two months of the season.
The Mets’ June swoon seemed to be directly correlated with a massive slump from McNeil, who hit just .196 in June and .230 in July to see his batting average plummet all the way to .252 on July 31. Things did change a bit for McNeil after the trade deadline as the team’s decision to trade both Mark Canha and Tommy Pham, along with injuries to Starling Marte, sent McNeil back to the outfield on a more regular basis. McNeil did warm up over the final two months, hitting .308 in August and .297 in September to bring his batting average back up to a respectable .270 for the year.
The move to the outfield also seemed to inspire McNeil’s defense as he made some incredible plays in the outfield corners to showcase his versatility. A partial ligament tear in his left elbow ended McNeil’s season a week early but the good news is that he managed to avoid surgery, setting him up for a healthy return to form in 2024.
McNeil was trending towards a lower grade but a .300 batting average with seven homers over his final 56 games allowed him to salvage a .270 batting average, which is good for most hitters but represented a 56 point drop off from his .326 mark in 2022. Defense also was a huge positive for McNeil, whose ability to slide to the outfield and play it competently allowed the Mets to find at bats for Ronny Mauricio in September.
Contract Status: Signed Through 2026 (Will Earn $10.25 Million In 2024)
Odds Of Returning: 100%
2024 Role: Second Baseman
There is no reason for the Mets to trade McNeil when is on a team-friendly contract and has a ton of defensive versatility. Where McNeil actually plays depends on the moves the Mets make in the offseason to bolster their offense. McNeil’s best position remains at second base but if the Mets either add an infielder or want Mauricio to start at second base McNeil could easily play an outfield corner without any concerns.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at starting pitcher Tylor Megill!