The 2022 New York Mets season was one with many highs and lows. The team was hot for a lot of the season. However, weaknesses were shown in some rough series against some of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. This led front offices to make a lot of trade deadline moves that were questionable at best.
Jeff McNeil does not add much to the equation defensively with a DRS of 0 across all positions played. What the reigning batting title holder does excel at is getting on base.
Despite the Mets wanting to trade J.D Davis for a designated hitter who could hit lefties, it should not have been Darren Ruf. Especially with the three pitchers sent to San Francisco alongside Davis. The trade between the Mets and Pirates sending right-handed reliever Colin Holderman to the Steel City in return for Daniel Vogelbach didn’t make much more sense.
The New York Mets had the perfect designated hitter right in front of them.
When most baseball fans imagine a designated hitter they think of big sluggers. This is understandable, but baseball has changed even with shift restrictions coming into play this upcoming season. McNeil is the perfect candidate with a .331/312 righty-lefty batting average split, hitting .336 with RISP.
The Mets have everyday hard hitters in Pete Alonso and Starling Marte, and even then McNeil ranked third on the 2022 Mets for slugging percentage.
Defensively Luis Guillorme deserves more time as the 28-year-old has a lot of depth. With the Mets’ depth chart overflowing with third basemen, giving Guillorme consistent playing time as a second baseman would work well.
McNeil can platoon wherever he’s needed on the field to give rest to other players, but at the end of the day, Vogelbach just isn’t as productive as is needed in a designated hitter. Breaking down Vogelbach’s time with the Mets so far, in the 55 games he had played with the team in 2022, the former Pittsburgh Pirate struck out 47 times. In Jeff’s 148 games played in the 2022 season, he struck out a mere 61 times.
This upcoming off-season, the New York Mets have a hole to fit regarding a designated hitter. Daniel Vogelbach is there if needed, but someone more reliable could be a game-changer in 2023. It may not be Jeff McNeil, but I don’t think there’s anyone more consistent than the man who holds the 2022 batting average title.