Jeff McNeil Must Become Mets Everyday Third Baseman
Starting with the obvious, none of that trio have exactly made the case to play everyday. At least, not this season.
Smith has an 84 wRC+ and a -2 DRS in left while he battles a wrist injury much akin to Michael Conforto in 2016.
Davis has been yet again completely incapable at third with a -6 DRS and -2 OAA. He’s been a horrible base runner, and as we especially see with the bases loaded, his strike out rate is climbing. Sooner or later, his BABIP luck will run out leaving him to slide to being what he was last year.
That leaves us with the enigma of McNeil.
Look, for whatever which reason, McNeil isn’t hitting. We see that with his career worst 94 wRC+. We also see it with his career worst K%, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG, etc.
All told, this is the worst he’s ever looked at the plate. Maybe it’s injuries. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever the case, he hasn’t been good at the plate let alone near his career norms.
However, he’s been phenomenal in the field. He has a 5 DRS and a 4 OAA at second. This is the best he’s ever looked in the field, which is saying something given his level of success at different positions.
That success includes third where he’s been quite good in his career. With Báez back, that’s where the Mets need him.
Instead, the Mets are putting McNeil in LF. That’s a huge mistake for a few reasons.
First, it puts Davis at third where he has no business playing. Second, and perhaps more important, McNeil is dealing with leg injuries.
It’s part of the reason we’ve seen McNeil’s speed and sprint speed decline. That’s not a good mix for LF where McNeil was merely average. That’s nothing to say of the possibility he aggravates his leg injuries further when trying to track down a ball.
Overall, for his health and to prevent neutralizing the greatness of Báez and Lindor, McNeil should be at third. To build the best lineup and defensive alignment possible McNeil should be at third.
Really, no matter what way you look at it, McNeil should be the Mets everyday third baseman.