Port ST. LUCIE – Jeff McNeill arrived at spring training this year and projected to become every other baseman of the Mets.
But as the versatile weapon that reached the camp last year was set to become the Mets’ third baseman everyday – just nine games to begin – he better understand assuming he would hold a position.
“Of course I’ll play everywhere, it’s definitely to go to spring training,” McNeil said after the first full-squad workout on Monday. “I think I’m going to play a lot of second base, but at the same time, I’m going to get my rep on the left, right on the third. A lot can change very quickly in this game, so you know you have to Some third or left or wherever the team needs me, I need to be ready to play. But I think a lot of my representatives will come on second base. “
McNeill started the second game last season with nine runs during a short game of just 60 matches, most of which fell to his starting (26) left field. But after Robinson Cano was suspended for positive testing for a banned substance in November, McNeill became his expected replacement, at least the most regular. Manager Luis Rujas on Monday mentioned Jonathan Willer and Luis Guillourme as other infants who could be seen at other times.
Although McNeill started 52 of 52 games at second base in 2018, playing this season marks a new turn for Francisco Lindor to learn as a double-play partner. The two talked about starting that process on Monday as they started to know each other’s instincts.
“I think it’s huge for us that we do a lot of game-speed reps to keep pace with each other and to keep pace with each other,” McKinill said.
McNeil’s bat has been his calling card, but his defense has also been solid. In three years with the Mets, he has registered one defensive run saved at second base, five at third base, two in left field and three in right field, according to FanGraphs.
Still, he has his first three seasons batting .329, .318 and .311 – set to be a more consistent hitter regardless of where he is playing on the field.
McNeil said, “I hate those ups and downs. Hitting and hitting 400 a week. 200 next week.” “It’s just hard for me. It all turns out to be .300, but I would like to be just .300 and just compatible throughout the year. So I think I’m going to focus on that. Limiting slaps here and there for just a few days rather than a week. “