Three months ago, Michael Conforto wasn’t guaranteed an Opening Day roster spot.
But on July 11, Conforto will be in Miami as the Mets’ lone representative in the All-Star Game after a stellar first half had many taking to Twitter to put the outfielder onto the ballot as a write-in candidate.
“I really didn’t think back to that,” Conforto said. “Really, what I thought back to was the hard work that I’ve put in this offseason and in spring training. 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.”
In fact, he’s been one of the Mets’ most impactful bats all season.
Conforto’s overall numbers, before he was placed on the 10-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game, had him on track to be one of the game’s best up-and-coming outfielders. The 2014 first-round pick owns a .285/.405/.548 slash line and already has set a career high in home runs with 14 in 40 fewer games than he played last season.
A deeper look inside the numbers shows Conforto has been his best with runners in scoring position, holding a .356 average while collecting 26 of his 41 RBIs this season.
“In this game, with so many things we can’t control, only worrying about what you can do is key,” Conforto said. “Just from talking to the guys, that’s what the best in the game do. I’m just trying to learn from the best.”
It has shown in the way Conforto has evolved since last season, when he was sent back to the minors after a fast start at the plate.
Instead of being angered, he found ways to improve his swing and revitalize himself mentally. That explains why his recent stretch — an 18-for-89 (.202) slide — isn’t as concerning as it would have been last season. Conforto already has shown the ability to be resilient.
“Obviously last year was a learning experience for me and something I had to go through,” Conforto said. “I look at it as part of my journey. … You have to let it fuel your fire, which is definitely something it did for me.”
It also is how Conforto is set to make his first All-Star appearance at the very stadium where he hit the first home run of his career two years ago.
“It’s going to be pretty special,” Conforto said.
Much like his future.