There’s a lot of fantasy love for the Mets’ Jeff McNeil, as he currently sits with an average ADP of 83.8 in recent NFBC drafts. While some positional flexibility helps to bolster his value, you have to wonder if that’s a little rich (he’s roughly a seventh round pick for those in 12-team leagues)? First let’s take a look at the numbers from 2019:
510 At Bats
.318 Batting Average (162 Hits)
23 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.348 On Base Percentage
.531 Slugging Percentage
.337 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The biggest questions come from his power, and while it wasn’t a monster number it was more than we would’ve expected entering the season. Was the “surge” due to the increased power throughout the league, making him destined to regress in 2020? Or was there some real development in his production? His 15.4% HR/FB generally wouldn’t ring any warning bells, especially after his 14.8% mark split between Double and Triple-A in 2018 (when he hit 19 HR over 339 AB).
There was a distinct split however, which is going to bring some questions:
- First Half – 7 HR (8.6% HR/FB)
- Second Half – 16 HR (23.5% HR/FB)
Over the final two months he posted HR/FB of 26.3% and 25.0%, so was he facing lesser quality pitching as rosters expanded? It’s not something that can be overlooked, and already without monster power a regression into the 16-20 HR range will have an obvious negative impact.
We already know he isn’t going to be a significant source of stolen bases, so now you have to wonder if he could maintain this type of average. There is no questioning that McNeil knows how to handle the bat, but does a 37.6% Hard% or 22.2% Oppo% justify a .337 BABIP? How about his questionable approach:
- SwStr% – 11.1%
- O-Swing% – 41.7%
That’s a lot of straying outside the strike zone, and you would think that will limit the quality contact he can make. Put it all together, with the potential regression in his power, and suddenly we are looking at a .290ish hitter. Without the likelihood of putting up 90+ R or RBI where is the actual appeal?
It’s not to say that McNeil is a bad selection, but don’t let the hype inflate the draft day price. Consider some of the names currently with ADP after McNeil comes off the board:
- Matt Chapman – 86.25
- Josh Bell – 90.85
- Carlos Correa – 90.89
- Eddie Rosario – 92.13
Considering those names it’s easy to argue McNeil is being over drafted at his current ADP and therefore is a player to avoid.
Source – Fangraphs