Michael Conforto will be an everyday player in 2016, but not right now
Michael Conforto has been limited to one start in the Division Series, which came in game two against Zack Greinke in Los Angeles.
In that game, he delivered a line drive solo home run off of the fair pole which at the time helped the Mets build a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers.
But he has yet to appear in a game in which the Dodgers have started a left-handed. He did not appear in game one against Clayton Kershaw, game three against Brett Anderson, and he is once again on the sidelines against Kershaw again in game four on Tuesday night.
On Sunday, manager Terry Collins said he was considering starting Conforto against Anderson on Monday, but ultimately started Juan Lagares and his .771 OPS against southpaws in centerfield with Yoenis Cespedes in left.
“I think he can hit lefties,” Collins said on Monday about Conforto. “I think he’s going to be an outstanding player, but this is what we’ve been doing since he came here and we said you know what, it gives us our best defense.”
Collins is going with the same outfield configuration on Tuesday night, and intends to do so through the remainder of the postseason.
But Collins said that will change beginning in 2016.
“Michael Conforto is going to be a very good player, and next year he’s going to be an everyday player,” Collins said.
The feeling around the team regarding Conforto and facing left-handed pitching is simply that there’s no reason to fix anything that isn’t broken.
Sure, Michael Cuddyer struggled on both sides of the ball recently, but he’s also not starting at the moment. And the Mets certainly aren’t losing anything with Lagares in centerfield and Cespedes in left, either.
And with the need to strengthen the defense up the middle with the loss of Ruben Tejada, the logic is indeed sound to test Conforto later, especially against lesser left-handlers in less pressurized situations.
Conforto had just 15 plate appearances against left-handers in 2015. He did face LHP JP Howell as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning on Monday night, and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.