Mets' Jeff McNeil wins 2022 NL Batting Title

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Congratulations to Jeff McNeil, the 2022 National League batting champion!

McNeil was not in Wednesday’s starting lineup for the Mets, so as he was set to hold steady at .32645, the Dodgers' Freddie Freeman needed to go 4-for-4 or 5-for-5/5-for-6 to catch him. And, despite MLB’s plan to have every game start at the same time on the season’s final day, the Mets’ game with the Nationals was delayed nearly two hours by rain, so first pitch wasn’t until around 6 p.m. – nearly two hours and five-plus innings into the Dodgers’ finale with the Rockies.

Mets manager Buck Showalter said he would likely try to get McNeil into the game if Freeman passed him at some point, but as he remained on the bench, Freeman went 3-for-4 to finish at .32516.

The Dodgers’ game went final during the fourth inning of Mets-Nationals, so in the middle of that frame, Citi Field displayed congratulations to McNeil on the video board, and McNeil gave the sparse crowd attending the game on a cold, damp night in Queens a curtain call.

It didn't become officially official for another couple hours, however, as in deciding to take Francisco Lindor out of the game after taking the field for the eighth, Showalter inserted McNeil into the game in his spot. McNeil did not bat in the bottom of the eighth, however, so he officially took both the NL crown and the highest average in MLB, as Minnesota's Luis Arraez won the AL batting title with a .315 average.

SNY's booth statistician Dave Fried crunched the numbers, though, and they revealed that even if McNeil did bat and make an out, he would've still remained ahead of Freeman.

McNeil’s batting title is the second in Mets history after Jose Reyes in 2011, who had a similarly “controversial” finale: he recorded a bunt single in his first at-bat on the season’s final day and came out of the game at .337; all games weren’t played at the same time at that point, so Reyes then had to wait hours to watch Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun go 0-for-4 to finish at .332, as the Mets had an afternoon game in Queens and the Brewers played a night game at home.

And, oddly enough, McNeil's .326 is only the sixth-best average in Mets franchise history, despite it being good enough to win the second batting title - and Reyes' .337 is only third. The best average in Mets history belongs to Jon Olerud, who hit .354 in 1998 but lost the batting crown to Colorado's Larry Walker, who hit .363.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports