McNeil, 26, has split his time as a professional between second and third base. He is certainly not considered a top prospect. But that hasn’t stopped Mets fans from pining for his arrival during a lost season — just as it hasn’t stopped him from producing at eye-popping rates all year long.
While he has generally produced solid numbers at the plate since joining the New York organization in 2013 as a 12th-round pick, McNeil had never sustained anything like his current breakout. In 241 plate appearances at Double-A to open the year, he posted a 1.029 OPS. Since moving up to the team’s top affiliate, he’s sitting at 1.027 through 143 trips to the dish.
The recent numbers certainly have been impressive. This season, the lefty-swinging McNeil has drawn walks (36) almost as frequently as he has gone down on strikeouts (42). That sort of plate discipline was always a hallmark of his game, though. Now, McNeil is also producing a stunning amount of power. He has already launched quite a few more home runs this year (19) than he did in all of his prior minor-league action (9).
Of course, the real test will come at the major-league level. The BPro team recently discussed McNeil among other prospects (fair warning: in colorful terms), noting both that there seem to be some real changes underlying his breakout and that there’s still plenty of uncertainty in his outlook. Ultimately, it remains to be seen how McNeil will fare, but there’s little reason for the Mets not to give him a shot now, particularly with several existing players likely destined to be moved via trade in short order.