Batter’s Box: McNeil-ing at the Mets Altar
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
As I told our fearless leader Nick today in a private message, I don’t think there is a writer on staff left that hasn’t told you to pick up Jeff McNeil. Austin Perodeau wrote him up the other day. Dave Cherman probably told you to pick him up on like…April 23rd or something. Austin Bristow has been texting the dude since high school! What more do you need?!
Only some of those statements are true, but I will let you decide what’s fact or fiction. Let’s get down to more facts. After last night’s McNeil’s 3-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI performance, his triple-slash on the season is now up to .335/.387/.492. And that’s through 196 plate appearances. Take that, small sample size police! His 8% strikeout rate has us all excited as well. Since he started getting significant playing time on August 1st, he’s posted a .875 OPS and a 142 wRC+. He doesn’t provide you a whole lot of power, but he gets on base, hits the ball well, scores runs, and he’s chipped in 5 swipes as well. He’s criminally underowned at 31%, and you should grab him now. Seriously. Go pick him up.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 4-4, R, HR, 3B, 2B, 4 RBI. Who knew all he needed to unleash his mammoth power was a move to Miller Park? Anyways, not only did Yelich hit his 31st bomb of the year last night, but he also hit for the cycle. For the second time this year. Against the same team. The Reds have reportedly offered to pay part of his salary for a promise he will no longer start against them. I have reportedly offered him a spot on all my fantasy teams next year as well.
Ronald Acuna (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 3-5, RBI. Ronald Thump brought his slash to .296/.371/.575 after last night’s performance as he just continues to strengthen his case for NL Rookie of the Year. It’s a 2 horse race at this point, but may I present to the court a few stats FROM THE 2ND HALF ALONE: 188 wRC+, 18 dongs, 1.099 OPS, and 50% hard contact. I rest my case, your honor.
Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-3, R, 2B, BB. This marks his 41st double of the season, which is actually a career-best mark for Castellanos. I know his HR and RBI totals may not be on par with last year, but in so many ways, he’s having his best year yet. He has the aforementioned doubles, but he also has career-best marks in walks, runs scored, and hits this year. Also, his triple slash of .296/.354/.491 would be his strongest marks in all but slugging percentage by quite a bit. Career years don’t always have to be defined by jacking a bunch of dongs, ya heard?!
Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – 3-5, R, HR, 2B, 6 RBI. He needs just 1 more dong to tie his career-high of 27 set just a year ago. He saw a big regression in his triple slash this year, and Statcast actually says he earned every bit of it. It makes me think the real Conforto lies somewhere in between this year and last year’s excellent ratios. For what it’s worth, he’s put together a great September with a line of 11 R/7 HR/22 RBI/.309.
Joc Pederson (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2B, 3 RBI. His double dong night brings him up to 23 on the year, and that makes him just 3 shy of his career-best. He’s been very good this month with a slash of .310/.356/.643, and he’s got 4 multi-hit games over his last 6. He’s hitting atop a surging Dodger lineup at the moment, so I would definitely be riding his hot bat in all leagues.
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. That makes it 21 dongs on the year now, and if his .304 average holds up, it will be a new career-best for Rendon. And this is a pretty solid hitter we’re talking about, so that’s no small feat. You would love more than the modest 6 HR he’s hit in the 2nd half (including last night’s tate), but you can’t be upset with the .332 average since the All-Star Break. He’s never going to be tops in much of anything, but he does a lot of things really, really well.
Chris Shaw (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 3-3, R, 2 2B. The 2015 1st round pick of the Giants is just getting his feet wet at the Major League level right now, and well…he’s taking his lumps. Better now when they’ve been out of the race than next year when the slate is clean, eh? Anyways, Shaw is slashing just .207/.250/.379 through his first 32 plate appearances, but you can’t deny the 24 dongs he smacked in AAA this year. It did come with a 34% strikeout rate, however, which has followed him to the big leagues. Don’t expect much rest of season, but he’s worth a look late in drafts next year.
Kolten Wong (2B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-5, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. He hit his 9th….Wong Dong…of the year last night. I’ll show myself out. After a pretty terrible 1st half, he’s picked it up in the 2nd with a .317/.374/.452 triple slash. Still, the production is so few and far between that I’m passing on Wong. I’ll need to see a few more nights like this before adding him. Even then, it would only be for NL-only or 14-team and above.
Kris Bryant (3B, Chicago Cubs) – 2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. This is going to be a lost season for the young slugger as injuries kept him out most of June and July this year. It’s just his 12th dong over 417 plate appearances, but he has definitely tapped back into the good form he showed in April and May here in September. In September, he’s rocking a 141 wRC+ and .887 OPS. I’m bullish on him down the stretch.
Starlin Castro (2B/SS, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. It’s been a quietly solid season for the Yankee cast-off, and if you nabbed in NL-only leagues, he’s probably delivered pretty great results. That makes it 12 dongs on the year for him, but the value derives from his high batting average and runs scored. He has scuffled over the last two weeks slashing just .241/.281/.389, so hopefully, he can right the ship over the last two weeks. “He better!” said all NL-only owners collectively.
Ji-Man Choi (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. That makes it 10 dongs on the year for the gentleman who has logged plenty of miles on the bus in the minors. He’s been great here in September slugging 5 dongs with a slash of .286/.368/.673, and he’s certainly worth an add in deeper leagues and AL-only. Quick Rays’ facts: with their current record, the Rays would have already won the AL Central and would either be leading or in contention for every single division in the National League. That wound is so salty, I know.
Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. That makes it 13 dongs on the year, which means he’s given us the definition of “modest pop” 4 out of the last 5 years. Give it up for consistent replacement level production! Crawford was the bee’s knees for a good portion of the 1st half, but he’s posted an awful .186/.234/.267 in the 2nd. He also somehow has a 36 wRC+, and I’m leaving him on the wire where he belongs.
Paul DeJong (SS, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-5, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s hit safely in 9 out of his last 10 games now, but he is still hitting just .215 in the 2nd half. Despite the low batting average, he’s posted an excellent 2nd half line of 35 R/10 HR/40 RBI. His injury at the beginning of the season may have dropped him off some radars, so if you are one of the 50% of leagues where he’s on the wire, I’d pick him up. He could provide some nice pop in a hot lineup down the stretch.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-2, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. He’s slashing a very solid .324/.373/.545 in the 2nd half, but he doesn’t give you nearly enough counting stats to be relevant in most leagues. I would add him in NL-only leagues at this point, and that’s only if I needed average or OBP help.
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves) – 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI. That makes it (just) 22 dongs on the year for the future Hall of Famer. I said it! Come at me, bro! Anyways, it pains me to say this about my favorite player, but Freeman has been bad over his last 30 games with just 2 dongs and a slash of .230/.308/.345. And yet…the Braves are still in 1st place. Imagine what happens when he catches fire!
Alex Gordon (OF, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s been quite good over the last two weeks slashing a healthy .293/.391/.466. He’s not putting a lot of balls over the fence with just 1 dong over that stretch, but he does have 14 RBI and 3 SB. I would give him a desperation look in AL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues while he’s hot.
Ryan O’Hearn (1B, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. That makes it 11 dongs on the year, which doesn’t seem like much, but keep in mind he was called up at the end of July. Since getting the call, he’s done nothing but mash taters, and he’s slashing .306/.443/.735 over the last two weeks. You have to keep rolling with him while he’s finishing the season hot. He should be an interesting name in the 15-20 range among first basemen next year.
Kevin Pillar (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. As much as he’s struggled this year, he’s now got 14 HR and 14 SB on the year. He does have that valuable power-speed combo, but that’s about it. He never takes a walk, and he’s hitting right on the Mendoza line here in September. I’ll pass for now.
Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Congrats on your first ever Major League HR, Victor! In other news, I just acquired his Future Stars card in MLB the Show a few days ago, so I’m pretty pumped about that. Anyways, do you think he looks over at Juan Soto in the dugout and murmurs to himself, “it shoulda been me, kid.” I’d like to think so. There’s playing time questions down the stretch, so I’d let him chill on the wire in most leagues.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Taters Gonna Tate! That makes it 32 on the year, and the line is now up to 94 R/32 HR/105 RBI/21 SB/.294. For those keeping track at home, that’s MVP worthy, and he will be in the discussion. This is career year for him, which means he will be available at a career-high price next year. A price…I’m actually ok with paying?
Austin Hedges (C, San Diego Padres) – 1-4, R, HR, RBI. He can provide you with the much-desired catcher pop down the stretch as he now has 10 2nd half HRs. He never takes a walk, so be careful in OBP leagues. Catcher is terrible this year, so he makes an excellent streaming option down the stretch.
Max Muncy (1B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 1-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB. That makes it 33 dongs on the year in what has been one of the most magical stories of the 2018 season. He’s definitely dipped here in the 2nd half hitting just .230 and not receiving regular playing time, but it’s all cake at this point for Muncy. He’s already posted better numbers than anyone could have fathomed. I would still be rostering him for the power upside, but be ready to platoon when he’s out of the lineup.