Back in 2018, Jeff McNeil was strictly a second baseman -- at least according to former Mets manager Mickey Callaway. Heading into the 2020 season, he's been ranked one of the best third basemen in baseball.
According to MLB Network's 'The Shredder,' McNeil is the No. 5 third baseman in the game.
The full list:
1. Alex Bregman, Astros
2. Anthony Rendon, Angels
3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
4. Matt Chapman, Athletics
5. Jeff McNeil, Mets
6. Josh Donaldson, Twins
7. Justin Turner, Dodgers
8. Eugenio Suarez, Reds
9. Jose Ramirez, Indians
10. Manny Machado, Padres
"The Shredder," as described by MLB Network, "uses an objective methodology to rank players at each position based on their past track records as well as their future projection" while weighing both offensive and defensive stats in one-and two-year increments. It also takes durability and offensive environment into account.
McNeil being ranked fifth on this list might be a bit shocking at first glance, but it's hard to deny his value when looking at what he's done since making his big league debut in 2018.
In 196 games spanning 2018 and 2019, the 27-year-old McNeil has hit .321/.383/.513 with 26 homers, 49 doubles, and 118 runs scored while playing average or better defense at four different positions -- third base, second base, right field, and left field.
There were only 12 players in the National League in 2019 who had a better slugging percentage than McNeil's .531. Slice that down to infielders (which is what McNeil is expected to be in 2020) and McNeil's slugging percentage would've ranked seventh.
A first-time All-Star in 2019 while playing all over the field, McNeil is currently penciled in as the Mets' third baseman, with J.D. Davis expected to get the bulk of the playing time in left field.
The Mets were well-represented on 'The Shredder' rankings this past offseason, with Jacob deGrom the No. 1-ranked starting pitcher in baseball, Brandon Nimmo (center field) and Michael Conforto (right field) ranking among the top 10 at their respective outfield positions, and Seth Lugo ranked as the No. 7 reliever in baseball.