Michael Conforto got in the lineup last night and showed why he is a valuable weapon for manager Terry Collins but also showed why writing out the lineup card could become challenging for him all at the same time. Conforto has heard it all off-season and throughout spring training but he decided very early on he was going to shut out the noise and just worry about what he could control-playing baseball.
He waited the whole first week of the season to get a start and made the most out of that opportunity—smashing a home run and driving in two as the Mets beat the Marlins 5-2. All spring, Conforto kept telling me all he could do is keep working on his game and even confided in me that both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce helped him in the process by showing them how they shut out the noise because all the chatter affected them as well.
For a young player like Conforto this is no easy task but in getting to know him over the past year or so, I can safely tell you he is well beyond his years in maturity and much like Wilmer Flores, he has not only accepted his role but embraces it. I know that because I can see how much he works on the little things in practice time and understands that in a long 162 game season, his time will come and he must always be ready to perform at the highest level.
As the team heads to Philly, Terry Collins has indicated the normal outfield of Cespedes, Grandy, and Bruce will be back in there but he also knows Conforto is waiting in the wings. That depth provides something extra his opponents must be concerned about and it makes the Mets a tough team to beat. As the season progresses and Juan Lagares continues to sit out games, Michael Conforto will get his chance. And I am very sure he will make the most of it because quite frankly, he is only worrying about what he can control-hitting the baseball.
That level of maturity is so uncommon in people my age—let alone his age.