When the 2017 season started, it was believed the Mets would boast a handful of All-Stars at July’s Midsummer Classic in Miami. The top candidates included Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom and Yoneis Cespedes.
None of them made the team. But one other Met did.
Major League Baseball announced Sunday that outfielder Michael Conforto was selected to the National League All-Star game as a reserve, something not too many people expected at the beginning of the season, when Conforto was not even guaranteed a job at the big-league level.
Conforto, currently on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised left hand, made a strong impression in April filling in for the injured Juan Lagares to begin the season. Conforto hit .321/.394/.661 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 56 April at-bats, which all-but forced manager Terry Collins to find everday at-bats for the up-and-coming lefty slugger.
Turns out Collins made the right call, as Conforto hit even better in May. He hit .314 in 26 May games, with seven dingers and 21 RBI, and saw his on-base percentage rise to over .400 (.421).
Conforto came back to earth in June and his numbers dipped across the board. He hit .207 in the month, which dropped his batting average from .309 at the beginning of the month to .285 by June 25, his last game played before his injury. He is expected to be activated from the disabled list this weekend when the Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Despite his recent struggles, Conforto’s performance drew praise throughout the league. While the fans didn’t vote him in as a starter, it was his fellow players and coaches across baseball who voted Conforto to the All-Star team as a reserve.
Conforto’s journey to Miami is certainly an interesting one. His 2017 success comes after two seasons of rocky performances. He made a stellar first impression in his debut season back in 2015, helping propel the Mets into the postseason and eventually the World Series. Then he struggled to find any sort of consistency in 2016 and was shuttled back-and-forth between Triple-A Las Vegas and the major league club.
His rocky 2016 season, plus the presence of Cespedes, Lagres, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, put his 2017 roster spot in jeopardy. But Conforto remained confident heading into the campaign.
“Really, what I thought back to was the hard work that I’ve put in this offseason and in spring training,” Conforto told reporters. “I always had a feeling that even if I didn’t start with the team, I knew I was going to make an impact at some point.”
And, boy, has he made an impact. Conforto currently leads the team in batting average (.285) and on-base percentage (.405), while he is tied for second on the team with 14 home runs and trails only Jay Bruce with 41 RBI.
While his numbers are good, Conforto’s success means a little more to Mets fans because of his status as a home-grown player. In fact, he is the team’s first developed position player to make the All-Star team since Daniel Murphy in 2014.
So while it may be disappointing to Mets fans that the team will only have one All-Star playing in Miami, Conforto will be easy to root for come July 11.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe
©2017 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.