Conforto gets the call
New York Mets fans finally got their wish on Friday when the team called prized prospect Michael Conforto to the big club.
The Former Oregon State standout — Conforto was the Pac-12 Conference’s player of the year his sophomore and junior seasons — had been tearing it up at Double-A Binghamton and fans wanted the left-handed slugger to have a chance to give the Mets’ struggling offense a spark.
When the Mets placed left fielder Michael Cuddyer on the disabled list with soreness in his left knee, that paved the way for Conforto to get the call-up.
Conforto, the Mets’ first-round pick in 2014 — the 10th overall in the draft — and the organization’s top hitting prospect, was in the starting lineup on Friday when the Mets hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He started in left field and, batting seventh in the order, went 0-for-3, grounding out three times. His groundout in the fifth inning drove in a run as the Mets lost 7-2.
Conforto is the 31st former Beaver to get the call to the big leagues and the third to make his debut this season — Toronto’s Matt Boyd and San Francisco’s Josh Osich are the other two. He is also the fastest to make it to the majors; Boyd, whose father, Kurt, is a Medford High graduate, had held that honor earlier this season when he made his debut on June 27 against the Texas Rangers. Osich made his debut on July 3 in a relief appearance against the Washington Nationals.
Conforto, who made his professional debut on July 19, 2014, and played in just 133 games in the minors before being called up, began the season at Single-A St. Lucie before being promoted to Binghamton. With Binghamton, Conforto was batting .312 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 45 games.
He had two hits, scored a run and threw out a runner at the plate in the Futures Game on July 11.
While fans had been clamoring for Conforto to get the call up, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was leery, saying that position players who were called up so quickly in their careers “aren’t terribly successful in the short term,” according to Newsday.
“The downside is sometimes not being successful at the major-league level can have a longer-standing impact on a player,” Alderson said on Thursday, a day before the Mets decided to move Conforto to the majors. “There are a variety of other issues.
“Now, somebody like Conforto can be the exception, somebody like Conforto can come up with the intended purpose of only being here for a week or 10 days to get through a shortage, a player shortage that we might have. So there are different scenarios.
“But I think fundamentally you have to keep in mind that young players aren't always extraordinarily successful from the get-go."
Conforto may have gotten a break Friday. He didn't have to face one of the hottest pitchers in the majors as Zack Greinke, who hasn’t given up a run in 43 2/3 innings, flew back to Los Angeles to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple’s first child. He also missed Clayton Kershaw, who tossed a three-hit shutout, on Thursday.
Ian Thomas started for the Dodgers. He and four relievers limited the Mets to six hits.