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Jeff McNeil wins 2022 NL batting title; 2nd Mets player ever to do so

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Jeff McNeil batting title Mets
New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil gestures to fans during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Jeff McNeil became the second-ever Met to win a National League Batting Title and the first to lead Major League Baseball in batting average with a .326 mark to end the season.

The 30-year-old went 3-for-8 in a doubleheader on Tuesday against the Nationals to end his season on a high note. Manager Buck Showalter decided to sit him for the regular-season finale on Wednesday while Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers fell one point short.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” McNeil said. “This was one of my goals in baseball was to win a batting title. It was a bunch of hard work and trying to get back to the player I knew I could be.”

His .326 mark is sixth best in a single season in Mets history behind John Olerud (.354 in 1998), Cleon Jones (.340 in 1969), Jose Reyes (.337 in 2011), Lance Johnson (.333 in 1996), and Dave Magadan (.328 in 1990). Reyes was the only other Met to have won a batting title.

“Mac’s been something,” Showalter said. “To have a chance to lead the National League in hitting, what an accomplishment. My gosh. That is so hard. These are the best hitters in the world. To have one sitting here is special.”

The 30-year-old’s run to the title was particularly mounted throughout the final two-plus months of the season. After going 1-for-5 on July 29 against the Miami Marlins, McNeil was batting .287 on the season.

Since then, over his final 61 games of the season, he batted .378 (88-for-233).

“I got hot at the right time,” he said. “I’m super happy to be up there and I have a chance to do it.”

McNeil has quickly developed into one of the best natural hitters in the game today. Over his five MLB seasons, he’s batting .307, which ranks second in MLB during that stretch (min. 1,000 plate appearances) and second in Mets franchise history behind Olerud’s .315.

To do so, he had to overcome a difficult 2021 campaign in which he batted  .251 in 120 games by simplifying his approach. During his torrid 61-game finish, 63 of his 88 hits were singles.

“Just try not to do too much out there. I’ve taken a real simple approach this year,” McNeil said. “I’ve tried to hit a bunch of line drives, a bunch of singles… It’s amazing what happens when you take that kind of approach.”

For more on Jeff McNeil and the Mets, visit AMNY.com

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