Jeff McNeil Should Play Third, Luis Guillorme At Second

It finally happened. In the New York Mets 8-4 loss, the late inning machinations led to Jeff McNeil playing third base. It took 74 games for the Mets to put their best third baseman at third base.

Now, many don’t believe that to be true because McNeil struggled there for exactly nine games in a COVID impacted season. For some reason, those nine games were weighed much more than the rest of his career.

Entering 2020, McNeil had played 171.1 innings at third at the MLB level. Over that admittedly small sample size, he had a 6 DRS, 3.1 UZR, and a 5 OAA. Those numbers are excellent. Really, when you have a player of that caliber, you don’t move him off the position.

That goes double when you look at the other Mets third basemen. J.D. Davis and Jonathan Villar entered the year with reputations as poor defenders, and they haven’t disappointed.

In 94.0 innings, Davis has a -2 DRS, -0.9 UZR, and a -1 OAA. While having the propensity to make the highlight play, Villar has a -1 DRS, -1.9 UZR, and -2 OAA in 362.2 innings at third.

At the moment, both Davis and Villar are on the IL taking them out of the third base mix. That means Luis Guillorme is the third baseman for now.

Shockingly, Guillorme is not a good third baseman. In 113.2 innings this year, he has a -3 DRS, -1.0 UZR, and a -1 OAA. For whatever reason, the skills which make him an extraordinarily gifted middle infielder isn’t translating at the hot corner.

This makes the Mets putting McNeil at second and Guillorme at third an inexplicably bad and stubborn decision. Remember, when McNeil wasn’t initially called up in 2018, Sandy Alderson’s initial rationale was McNeil wasn’t a third baseman.

Of course, the problem is McNeil is s third baseman, and he’s a very good one at that. They’re taking one of their best players and neutralizing just how great he can be.

More than that, they’re purposefully not allowing Guillorme to thrive. He is a player who plays exceptional defense and finds a way on base. When he’s played second, he’s done that. When he hasn’t, he’s a player who hits for no power and plays poor defense. Continuing down this path is insane.

This is a good Mets team which can be great. They can win a World Series. To do that, they’re going to have to get the most out of their roster and put their players in a position to succeed. As long as McNeil is at second with Guillorme at third, they’re not going that.

It’s past time to make the switch. The Mets can maximize their defense and help their pitching by making this switch. They can be an even more imposing club. Hopefully, we will see McNeil at third with Guillorme at second soon.