In Saturday’s split squad game against Atlanta, the Mets beat the Braves by a score of 3-1 at Tradition Field. Jacob deGrom started and was sharp for two innings, but make no mistake that 2015 first rounder Michael Conforto, was the big story of the day.
Conforto went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in all three Mets runs in the game. But most impressive of all was how relaxed and confident he looked at the plate.
After singling to center in his first at-bat, Conforto quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole his second time up against the tough lefthander Manny Banuelos. This is where we’ll see what kind of a hitter he really is, I thought, and boy did he make an impression. Conforto worked the count to 3-2 and then his quick hands turned on a fastball which he ripped to center field for a two-run double. It was a major league at-bat to be sure, and it came against a lefty pitcher. Outstanding.
In his third at-bat in the bottom of the 5th, Conforto was up against the veteran reliever Matt Capps, who quickly got two strikes on the former Oregon State star with back to back changeups. Conforto was fooled and swung through both of them. However the third time wouldn’t be a charm for Capps as Conforto adjusted and ripped a single to right field.
In his final at-bat of the game, the Braves finally retired Conforto and got the kid to golf a shallow fly to right field to end his big day.
The Mets gave Conforto the official lineup card as a souvenir to remember the day and the experience. It was a nice gesture.
“I kind of surprised myself a little bit. I felt very comfortable,” Conforto told reporters after the game. “I had a lot of fun today, it was a good experience.”
“I felt very comfortable. My goal was to just come over here and have fun and embrace the moment. The opportunity to be out here with these guys was pretty cool. I had a lot of fun today.”
Manager Terry Collins was impressed with his very first look at the young outfielder.
“He’s got a short swing, he’s got a quick bat through the strike zone. It’s the first time I’ve seen him. But, for sure, he’s got one of those really nice swings,” Collins said.
“You saw during each at bat, they would throw him something off speed and he would make an adjustment once he saw it. Good hitters can do that”
“It’s good for him to get over here. There’s a chance we’ll try to get him back over here when we need some outfielders. We’ve got some nice players coming. We want to give them some looks, so we know what’s coming up the pike.”
It was a great day for the organization on Saturday, as they caught a glimpse of what could be he next big thing for the Mets.
Bottom line… Conforto looked like he belongs and someday soon he’s going to be a star in this game. I project him to be MLB ready by June of 2016.
(Photo: Howard Simmons)