McNeil a rising star for resurgent Mets

Meet the Mets’ professional hitter – Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil

On a Mets team full of intriguing young hitters, arguably the most intriguing is Jeff McNeil.

Indeed, in its 27-year-old super utilityman, the Amazin’s have a throwback to another era, a hustler who plays multiple positions well and a master of bat control who uses the whole field, frustrates shifts and doesn’t feel that choking up is beneath him. Scouts liken him to a young Pete Rose and say a batting title is in his future.

But in 2019, his first full season in the bigs, he experienced something of a split year. Prior to the All-Star break, he led the league in hitting, batting .349 with seven home runs; after it, .276 but with a huge power surge of 16 homers. In both halves, however, his OPS (a total of on-base and slugging percentage) was roughly the same: .917 followed by .915. He just took two different routes to the same level of production.

It all added up to an All-Star year for the third year player: a .318 average with 23 homers, 75 RBIs, with on-base and slugging percentages of .384 and .532 for an OPS of .916.

Likely the Mets’ third baseman this year, he’ll be part of a promising batting order whose big boppers – Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto and McNeil – all seemed to blossom at once in 2019, leading the team on a second-half tear that saw it narrowly miss the postseason. And this year, that youthful squad is hungry for more as they vie with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and world champion Washington Nationals in a packed National League East.

Name: Jeff McNeil

Birth date: April 8, 1992

Birthplace: Santa Barbara, Calif.

Height/weight: 6 feet 1 inch/195 pounds

Teams: New York Mets (2018-present)

Position: Third base/second base/outfield

Bats/throws: Left/right

No.: 6

Honors and achievements: MLB All-Star Game (2019); career stats are .321 average with 26 homers, 94 RBIs, a .383 on-base percentage and an OPS of .896

Nickname: Flying squirrel

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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