McNeil is expected to be used more in the outfield following Thursday's addition of Jed Lowrie, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. The Mets have now acquired both Robinson Cano and Lowrie over the offseason, so they'll plan to use McNeil in the outfield more than previously anticipated. The 26-year-old has yet to make a single start in the outfield at the big-league level and has played just four games in the outfield while in the minor leagues, so it's unclear as to how he'll fare when the Mets roll him out there.
McNeil is likely to be featured as a utility player for the Mets in 2019, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. McNeil was previously penciled in as the Mets' starter at second base, but the acquisition of Robinson Cano from the Mariners in early December alters that significantly. According to DiComo, the team has discussed the 26-year-old as an option at all four infield positions in addition to left field. McNeil may not start the season as an everyday starter, but with Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, Amed Rosario and Cano currently rounding out the Mets' infield, there should still be ample opportunities to accrue at-bats.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen said McNeil is "penciled in" as the Mets' starting second baseman in 2019, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. McNeil settled in as the Mets' starter at second base following the trade of Asdrubal Cabrera in July and slashed .329/.381/.471 with three homers and seven stolen bases across 63 games over the remainder of the season. The 26-year-old flashed impressive contact skills, striking out just 9.7 percent of the time in 2018.
McNeil went 4-for-5 with a walk, RBI and stolen base Sunday in the Mets' 8-6 win over the Nationals. As a 26-year-old who had logged only 18 games above the Double-A level prior to 2018, McNeil didn't have much cachet among prospect enthusiasts heading into the spring. The infielder opened some eyes, however, after delivering a .342/.411/.617 batting line between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, earning his first call to the big leagues in late July as a result. McNeil hasn't stopped hitting since joining the Mets, with Sunday's four-hit performance pushing his average up to .340 across his first 221 plate appearances in the majors. While a .369 BABIP has surely aided the average, McNeil's stellar contact skills -- he's struck out just 9.5 percent of the time -- have played an integral part in his success. In light of his stable playing time and hot bat, McNeil be worth keeping active in just about every format over the final week of the season.
McNeil will be on the bench Saturday against Washington. McNeil sits after making nine straight starts, a stretch in which he hit .289 with a .799 OPS. Jack Reinheimer will play second base in his absence.