4. Jeff McNeil will get back to his sweet-swinging ways
For as bad as the Mets were last season, it's easy to forget what a special team they had the year before. The Mets had an amazing 2021 regular season, finishing with at least 100 wins for the first time since 1988. Many Mets had career years to help the team achieve such a feat, and one of the standouts was Jeff McNeil, who won the batting title with a .326 average.
McNeil is a throwback player in this age of the three true outcomes. He has a little bit of Tony Gwynn in him, choking up and putting the ball in play while others swing for the fences. While most players are focused on their launch angles, McNeil is trying to shoot the ball through the hole. As such, he's always been one of my favorite players.
Last year was rough for the Mets, and McNeil was part of the reason why. The reigning Silver Slugger winner had a frustrating season, and there was a point in late July where his average dipped below .250, which is almost unfathomable for someone with his bat control.
McNeil rebounded late in the year after the Mets were already out of it to bring his average up to .270, but it was still a down season by his standards. Maybe it was the pressure of having just signed a four-year, $50 million contract, or maybe he fell victim to a Mets team that seemed to sink further into despair with every blown lead and every game dropped in the standings. The pressure clearly got to him, as he was visibly frustrated for much of the year.
Expectations in New York are nowhere near where they were at this time last year. The Mets aren't thinking World Series or bust, and this could free McNeil up to just play his game. Expect fewer thrown helmets this time around, along with a return to contention for the batting title.