PHILADELPHIA – It is still early in the season but Michael Conforto is doing all he could to state the case that he deserves more playing time. He is letting his bat do the talking. For the second straight game, he has crushed a homer on the day Terry Collins put him in the lineup.
I will grant you it is a very small sample size but it must be noted Conforto has 10 total bases in just 10 at-bats this season and he is doing it playing sporadically which just does not seem to bother him in the least. I asked Conforto after the game if he thinks he is making it more difficult for the manager to fill out his daily lineup card and he respectfully said, “I don’t think that’s a bad thing but all I can control is what I do on the field. Of course, I want more playing time but most importantly I want what is best for the team. Beyond that, I just have to keep working on things whether I am in the lineup or not.”
Conforto spent the off-season doing two things: tweaking his diet to keep his body in the best shape possible and working on using the whole field at the plate. That was very evident on his home run last night as he did not over swing—he hit it where it was pitched and drove it out of the ballpark. But he also showed me so much in his next at-bat. He had just smacked 2 hits but was focused on pitch selection drawing a walk which help catalyze a three run inning that was the difference in the game.
I’d expect that from a veteran– not a young player but Conforto thinks at the plate and remains focused in that particular at-bat—something I did not see from him last year. Instead of brooding about playing time he might miss, he worked on his game. Because that was what was in his control and that mindset has continued in the last 10 days. It might make Terry Collins job of putting the lineup together each day a bit tougher but Conforto is not worried about that because simply put, worrying about it will not change the result. On the other hand, smashing the ball over fences when he is at the plate could very well change that result.