Jeff McNeil: 'I'm Comfortable At Third Base'

LISTEN: Mets Second Baseman Joins Mike Francesa

Mike Francesa
November 28, 2018 - 3:45 pm

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New York (WFAN) -- Jeff McNeil came up to the Mets in the second half of the season and was a hit machine. He also played well defensively at second base. McNeil joined Mike Francesa on WFAN Wednesday to discuss his rookie season in the big leagues in the short time he was with the Mets. 

"I didn't hit for as much power as I wanted to. That will come. I'm not too worried about that," McNeil said. "I'm definitely happy with how I played. I hit 22 last year total...hit a lot in double-A and triple-A and then just when I got in the big leagues, it was a long season for me. I missed the last few years with injuries. Playing in 162 games or 150 games or whatever I played, it was a little bit hard. I lost a little bit of weight at the end of the year. I know that power is there. I just need to work hard this offseason and make sure I come in shape."

McNeil could potentially be joined by his buddy on the right side of the infield in 2019, Peter Alonso, who he had high praise for.

"He's got probably the most power I have ever seen. He's an unbelievable teammate as well. He's a really good hitter. He makes adjustments when he needs to. I think he will definitely have great success in the big leagues." 

Mike asked about his defense, which some people questioned before he got to the big leagues. Also, what happens if the Mets did get Robinson Cano and they moved McNeil to third? 

"I think I've always been a great defender," said McNeil. "In college, I played everywhere. The defensive versatility has always been there. In the minor leagues, I got moved around. I played third. I definitely feel most comfortable at second base. As of right now, I'm preparing to be the everyday second baseman. If things change, nothing I can do about that. I was mostly an outfielder in college, so I'm comfortable out there. I'm comfortable at third base. Obviously I'm very comfortable at second base as well." 

What was the biggest adjustment from triple-A to the big leagues? 

"Pitchers could make the ball move a lot more," the 26-year-old said. "That was the biggest adjustment. They are able to throw that inside fastball starting at my hap and able to put it over the middle of the plate. That's one of the toughest pitches to hit right there. The biggest adjustment I had to make from triple-A to the big leagues was velo. The velo in triple-A was down. A lot of pitchers were 88 to 90. We get to the big leagues, a lot of starters are 93, 95." 

"I still got to come to spring training ready. I still have to prove myself. I only had two months. I'm going to go in there and play as hard as I can. I think Mets fans know I play the game as hard as I can. I hustle and try to do things the right way." 

You can listen to the interview above.