Darling goes on to talk about playing against Mattingly in 1983 in the minor leagues when he was more of a gap-to-gap hitter (and still playing some outfield).
Here is part of the quote from Darling,
“He was one of the best hitters (for) average that I had ever seen. He ended up of course reaching incredible power numbers when he reached the Yankees. Conforto’s swing reminds me of a lot of that swing that Mattingly had in ’83.”
“So, in my estimation, I think he’s a bonafide big-leaguer. He should be given that chance to play every day and see what happens. The Mets have developed a lot of pitching. They haven’t developed a lot of everyday players. This should be a guy they give a chance to.”
Conforto seemingly hit a sophomore wall during the 2016 season hitting only .220/.310/.414 in 348 plate appearances and an even worse .145/.223/.241 in the months of June and July. This coming after bursting onto the scene in 2015 with a .841 OPS just a year after being drafted in the first round.
The 23-year old Conforto did show some positive signs towards the end of the season after receiving his second recall from Triple-A Las Vegas. In September/October, Conforto posted a .396 OBP and only struck out 22.1% of the time (30.1% from May-August).
It still remains to be seen what role Conforto will play in 2017, as the Mets still have a crowded outfield with too many left-handed hitters best suited playing corner spots.