Jeff McNeil is unlikely hero who must save Mets

The 90-minute Urgency Summit involving Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway undoubtedly reached the following conclusions:

  • Brandon Nimmo, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos have to start hitting better.
  • Amed Rosario has to start fielding better.
  • Noah Syndergaard has to start pitching better.
  • Steven Matz has to stay healthy better.

And if all or most of those Urgency Summit questions are answered affirmatively, Callaway will be shown to be a better manager, and the Mickey Watch will be frozen in time, if only temporarily.
Michael Conforto’s message to Mets fans:

“Hang in there. We haven’t played very well collectively as a group. I think there’s a lot of potential that hasn’t been tapped into yet. And I think we’re gonna hit a good streak here soon.”

So the real Mets are ready to stand up.

“I think the best baseball is ahead of us,” Conforto told The Post. “We’re all kind of settling in now, and it seems the pitching is starting to really come on strong, and I think the hitters are gonna come around as well.”

The Marlins should have been the perfect foil at the start of the Urgency Homestand.

“There’s not much other than preparing us as much as possible that they can do — it’s really on us as players to go out there and perform,” Conforto said. “We’re confident that over this next two weeks we can make a push to put ourselves back where we want to be at the top of the division.”

The NL East is up for grabs. Van Wagenen raised expectations when he arrived and announced the Mets can grab it.

“If you asked anybody in here if we’ve played our best baseball, I think we’d all say no, we haven’t put it all together yet,” Conforto said. “Either the pitching hasn’t been there, the hitting hasn’t been there, we haven’t played defense, and I think we’re gonna pull it all together for a good bit of time. … There will be a stretch where we all pull the load together.”

Callaway would not be perceived as an underachiever if more of his players were overachievers the way Jeff McNeil has been.

“I think I just have the ability to cover the whole plate,” McNeil said before the Mets played host to the Marlins on Saturday night. “I can put the bat on the ball just about anywhere it is. I’m not a big swing-and-miss guy either. If you put the ball in play a lot, a lot of hits fall.”

He was second (.363) in the NL batting race behind Cody Bellinger (.399).

“It’s May right now, so there’s still a long way to go,” McNeil said. “Just going up there every day try to get as many hits as possible. Keep doing my thing.”

He has become a fan favorite. A leadoff sparkplug. An Energizer Squirrel.

“I know my play’s kind of what they like,” McNeil said. “It’s kind of scrappy. Just do anything I can to get it done. I think they like that.”

The manager likes that too.

“Just to have overcome some of the injuries [hip and hernia surgeries, torn quad] that Jeff has overcome is basically miraculous,” Callaway said. “And then to produce the way he’s producing, at such a high level, and with such a high volume, is even more miraculous. His bat has not slowed down, it’s probably even gotten better than it was last year. He is one of our best players and it’s good to get to run him out there every day.”

McNeil is fearless and he plays to win every night and day.

“I guess what I’ve always seen even from High A is just his ability to put the barrel on the ball,” Conforto said. “He can be way off balance, he can be way out on his front side or he can be beat and late, but he just has a way of getting his hands on plane with the ball. Not only that, but putting it on a line. It’s not always a ground ball that finds a hole, more often than not it’s just a line drive over the infield. So I just think he has incredible hand-eye coordination, and he’s a very, very confident hitter up there. Very rarely will you hear him give any sort is compliment to the pitcher. It’s always like, ‘Oh this guy’s got nothing. He can’t beat us,’ this and that. He’s just overflowing with confidence.”

That confidence needs to become contagious in the Mets’ locker room, and now.

“I know I can hit major league pitching, I know I can hit anyone,” McNeil said. “I know I belong here.”

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