Michael Conforto got his first start of the season on Sunday in place of Curtis Granderson. He took advantage of it as he went 1-3 with a solo home run and a bases-loaded walk. He is now 2-for-6 with one home run, two RBI, and two runs scored on the young season.
Conforto’s solid start to the season comes after a strong spring training. In 24 spring games and 60 at bats he hit .300/.323/.550/.873 with three home runs, five RBI, and seven runs scored.
Had Conforto not taken a step back in 2016, he would probably be starting everyday. At the same time Jay Bruce would most likely not be on the same team.
The Mets outfield is a tricky one. In an ideal world Conforto, Bruce, Granderson, and Yoenis Cespedes would all be starting. While Conforto could technically take more reps at first base or learn a new position, it is just not realistic at the moment.
Things will get even more dicey once Juan Lagares returns from the disabled list which should occur later this week. Right now Terry Collins will just have to shuffle around the outfield based off pitching matchups and hot streaks.
With the Mets offense off to a sluggish start to the season, Conforto has a chance to stand out. Collins realizes that he wants to play and has acknowledged his efforts.
“I think he’s fighting for something,” Collins said according to Abbey Mastracco of NJ.com before Sunday’s game. “These good players, when they see it, they chomp at the bit to get it.”
One good game is probably not going to change his status much, but if strings together more successful games like Sunday’s, he’ll find himself in the lineup somehow.