Back in spring training when it appeared all but done that Michael Conforto would begin the season in Triple-A Las Vegas, I certainly wasn’t happy about it. But as I wrote at the time, it’s not a big deal because this is baseball and talent always finds its way to the top.
As it so happened, an injury to Juan Lagares got Conforto on the opening day roster, and then another injury to Lucas Duda gave the kid the opening he needed to bust out and say in one clear voice, “I have arrived and I’m freaking here to stay.”
There’s such a wonderful symmetry in baseball that keeps us all coming back for more no matter how gloomy things may seem at the time. One moment you’re groveling on your hands and knees for a win, and in the next moment you’re on an exhilarating, adrenaline-fueled emotional high that you never saw coming. That’s what the last 48 hours have been like for me.
I got mocked pretty good on Friday when I said I still believed in this team in an MMO Roundtable. It looks like I’ve now gained a few hundred followers. Sometimes you need a young kid like Michael Conforto to show everybody just how quickly your fortunes can change in this game.
On Saturday, with Zack Wheeler and Addison Reed each not dealing with their best stuff, the team needed a huge pick-me-up and then BOOM… Just like that Conforto changed the whole dynamic of the game and the series against the Washington Nationals.
Conforto delivered the first multi-home run game of his regular season career, and certainly not the last. You may recall, Conforto thrilled us with a two-homer spectacle in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series.
After crushing a two-run go-ahead homer in the fifth inning off Stephen Strasburg, he then crushed a solo shot off lefty Enny Romero in the eighth inning, his first career regular-season homer off a left-hander.
That second homer pretty much sealed the deal for the Mets who defeated the Nationals 5-3 and are now on the verge of completing a sweep.
“It’s huge, but you know, we had a feeling this was coming,” Conforto said about the team’s second straight victory. “We have a lot of faith in ourselves. Things were going bad for a bit, but there’s no panic in here.”
Conforto, 24, is now batting .333 with a .410 on-base percentage for the season, and in 51 at-bats he now has six homers, 12 RBIs and an off the charts 1.116 OPS.
What makes his last 10 days so much more remarkable is that Conforto is such a likable kid, always saying and doing the right things. Nobody knows for sure what the future will hold for this young man, but I feel just as confident now as I was when I first saw him, that the Mets have themselves a bona fide star and future face of the franchise.