It has not been an easy season for Michael Conforto.
He has gone through slumps. He has been benched, and he was even demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Despite all that, Conforto can atone for his awful season by having a good September and maybe a good postseason.
He could be on his way of doing that. He hit a three-run home run to cap off a six-run fifth inning that gave the Mets a 10-5 victory over the Phillies last night at Citi Field. He also had a double and three RBIs in that game.
Since his call-up to the majors this month, he has had seven hits and six RBIs. He has done okay, but okay should be encouraging after what he has gone through this year.
Conforto and the Mets hope last night could be a start of big things to come.
With hitters, it’s all about confidence. One big hit results to another big hit, and then a hitter goes on a tear. A double and a home run should be something for Conforto to build on.
Mets manager Terry Collins said he will play Conforto tonight as a result of a good performance last night. The idea is to get him to feel good about himself by playing after a good performance.
Maybe Collins realizes he did his hitter a disservice by benching him against lefties this season. Yes, Conforto has not hit well against lefties by hitting .104 in 48 at-bats, but he is not going to get better by being benched. He needs to play through it and find a way.
Let’s not forget Conforto is in his first full season in the majors. He had to make adjustments after pitchers figured out how to pitch against him. It takes time for hitters. Not many hitters are going to be Mike Trout, who hit right away and not slowed down.
Hitting is mental. It can either drive them nuts or keep them sane.
It’s how a player responds through slumps that defines what a player is all about. We don’t know much about Conforto to know if he can handle it.
To his credit, he has kept working all season to get his swing back whether it’s with the Mets or at Last Vegas.
Maybe he has this thing figured out.
The Mets can only hope. They invested in him to be their franchise player in the next few years. They believe in his ability.
Conforto has done great things at Oregon State. He did not become a good hitter by accident. He has the natural ability to hit home runs and deliver big hits.
The problem is us. We expected too much out of him in his first full season. We forgot he was destined to slump. It happens to all players.
It has to be encouraging that he is hitting little bit better. It shows he still has it.
The Mets are banking on him to get better next year. It can’t get any worse. By next year, he should be able to figure out major league hitting.
It takes 1000 at-bats before we can judge a player.
From watching Conforto go about his business this year, there’s no reason to think he will continue to struggle. He has the temperament to handle adversity. He never was down on himself this season, and maybe that has helped him have a brief success he is having now.
The Mets shouldn’t apologize for demoting him. He needed to get work done at Las Vegas. He wasn’t going to get better watching on the bench.
Being demoted is not the end of the world. If anything, the Mets may have called up Conforto too soon. They had no choice since they needed to beef up their offense in the fall.
Conforto did well in his call-up last year. He hit .270 with a .335 on-base percentage, .506 slugging percentage and .841 OPS. He also had nine home runs and 11 RBIs. He had three home runs and six RBIs in the postseason.
It shows he can play.
He is too good to struggle forever.
It’s about making adjustments and handling it.
Maybe Conforto has figured the game out.