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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Thirteen

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What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, July 1st to July 7th?

Jeff McNeil
Steve Sypa

Pitcher of the Week

Jaison Vilera

2018 Season: 4 G (4 GS), 19.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER (1.86 ERA), 8 BB, 25 K (Short-A)

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (Short-A)

After playing professionally in Venezuela, the Mets signed Vilera to a contract in November 2015 and assigned him to the Dominican Summer League. He spent a year in the Dominican and then made his stateside debut last year, getting assigned to the GCL Mets. In 62.1 innings, he posted a 1.88 ERA, walking 17 and striking out 56. He led the GCL Mets in numerous categories, including ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, and innings pitched, and was named a GCL all-star at the end of the year.

In four starts this year, he has a 1.86 ERA, walking 8 and striking out 25. He just turned 21, so he’s about the right age for the New York-Penn League, but the Mets might want to consider accelerating the track he is on because, between his performance last season and how he’s doing this year, it looks like short-season ball isn’t exactly challenging him. His fastball is heavy and gets plenty of ground balls and limits home runs. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and it is advanced for the level, getting a lot of swings and misses and causing weak contact.

Based on his stuff and the numbers, I wouldn’t put Vilera in my top 25, but he a player to keep an eye on, one of many young pitchers that the Mets currently have in the system.

Hitter of the Week

Jeff McNeil

2018 Season: 78 G, 336 AB, .346/.417/.634, 103 H, 24 2B, 4 3B, 18 HR, 64 RBI, 31 BB, 38 K, 5/5 SB (Double-A/Triple-A)

Week: 7 G, 31 AB, .385/.484/.769, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 0/0 SB (Triple-A)

So, I’m not really sure what to say about McNeil anymore. He’s hitting the ball, it’s not a mirage, and at some point the Mets need to call him up and see how much of that can translate at the MLB level. We haven’t exactly gotten encouraging signs from the Mets brass that they’re going to be doing that any time soon, but it would be inexcusable for them not to. In additional to the removal of other players from the 40-man roster, Asdrubal Cabrera is almost all but guaranteed to be traded at the trade deadline. McNeil’s best position is second base, so he would seem the most obvious replacement when and if Cabrera is traded. He can also play third base, so depending on the status of Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce, McNeil could get time at third as well.

As a side note, because this is the fourth time McNeil has been Hitter of the Week, I am amending my Player of the Week selection process. From here on in, I am limiting the amount of times a player can be named Player of the Week to just four times, meaning that McNeil is ineligible going forward. In his honor, I will be calling it the McNeil Rule. While there’s nothing wrong with recognizing when a player is having a breakout season, there eventually comes a point when there is nothing new to discuss and no angles to analyze, and I feel that four selections within a season is that point.

Past Players of the Week

WEEK ONE 2018 (April 5-14): Justin Dunn/Ty Kelly

WEEK TWO 2018 (April 15-21): Chris Viall/Quinn Brodey

WEEK THREE 2018 (April 22-28): Chris Viall & Tony Dibrell/Peter Alonso

WEEK FOUR 2018 (April 29-May 5): Marcel Renteria/Jeff McNeil

WEEK FIVE 2018 (May 5-May 12): David Peterson/Jhoan Urena

WEEK SIX 2018 (May 13-May 19): Joe Cavallaro/Jeff McNeil

WEEK SEVEN 2018 (May 20-May 26): Mickey Jannis/Peter Alonso

WEEK EIGHT 2018 (May 27-JUNE 2): N/A

WEEK NINE 2018 (JUNE 3-JUNE 9): N/A

WEEK TEN 2018 (JUNE 10-JUNE 16): Justin Dunn/Wilmer Flores

WEEK ELEVEN 2018 (JUNE 17-JUNE 23): Nabil Crismatt/Peter Alonso

WEEK TWELVE 2018 (JUNE 24-JUNE 30): Drew Gagnon/Jeff McNeil