On the eve of the All Star Game, the Mets and Nationals engaged in their own Home Run Derby with each team hitting four apiece. Of all the home runs, none was bigger than Wilmer Flores‘ near Promenade shot in the fifth giving the Mets a 7-6 lead.
— glennt1975 (@glennt1975_) July 8, 2016
It was Flores’ third home run in the past two games and his fifth on the home stand. It was made all the more gratifying as it came off of everyone’s favorite ex-Met Oliver Perez.
Flores had entered the game in the top of the fifth as Bartolo Colon was ineffective and couldn’t make his way out of the fifth. In fact neither he nor Nationals rookie starter Lucas Giolito were good. Colon looked too old giving up six earned over 4.2 innings, and Gioloto looked too young allowing four earned in 3.2 innings. Neither pitcher would factor in the decision.
Hansel Robles would be the pitcher who got the win for the Mets. He came on in the fifth, and he bailed the Mets out of a bases loaded situation by getting Anthony Rendon to fly out to center. Robles kept the Mets in the game allowing for Flores’ heroics. Overall, he would pitch 1.1 innings allowing only one hit while striking out two.
It was a good hard fought win that saw the Mets rally from 1-0, 4-1, and 6-4 deficits. You accomplish that by getting key hits from everyone in the lineup:
- James Loney hit a two out RBI single in the third to tie the game 1-1.
- Travis d’Arnaud and Jose Reyes homered in the fourth to narrow the gap from 4-1 to 4-3.
- Yoenis Cespedes tied the game in the fourth with an RBI double scoring Curtis Granderson
- Brandon Nimmo battled from back in the count to get a single in the fifth. He would later score on Flores’ three run homer.
- Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the sixth to give the Mets an 8-6 lead.
- Neil Walker added an insurance run in the seventh with his seventh inning RBI single making it 9-7.
Quietly, Granderson, the new second place hitter, had a brilliant night. He was 3-5 with two runs, two walks, and a double. The Mets needed this entire offensive output because the Natuonals weren’t going away and because the Mets had to use Antonio Bastardo. In the seventh, Bastardo allowed Daniel Murphy to hit a bomb to right center. Murphy joined Bryce Harper, Clint Robinson, and Rendon in Nationals who homered on the night.
After Bastardo was out of the game, the Mets turned to Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia to secure the 9-7 win. Reed pitched 1.1 scoreless, and Familia recorded his 31st straight save to start the season.
Familia was aided by a terrific play by Cabrera after he issued a leadoff walk to Jayson Werth. Murphy hit a ball that Cabrera made a terrific play just to get to the ball with a dive to his right. He flipped to Walker to get the force out. It become a double play as Werth was ruled to have interfered with Walker by sliding past the base. For what it’s worth, Murphy was safe at first by a mile, but that’s the new rule. Familia then struck out Harper to end the game.
The Mets have now closed the gap to three games and two in the loss column.
Game Notes: The eight home runs were the most in any single game at Citi Field. Reyes had started, stumbled, stopped, and was picked off of first by Wilson Ramos. It went down as a caught stealing.
Mother Nature provided the rain, but it was the Mets bats that provided the thunder. The Mets hit five home runs within the first five innings going ahead 10-1.
It started in the second inning with James Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera going back-to-back off Cubs starter Jason Hammel. Cabrera would hit another homer off Hamel in the fifth. That would be the second homer in the inning. The first was a Yoenis Cespedes laser shot. Cespedes needed to hit that homer as Brandon Nimmo hit a home run in the fourth inning that was one foot farther than Cespedes’ shot yesterday:
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 2, 2016
It was Nimmo’s first career home run and curtain call. He followed it up by making a nice defensive play in the fifth:
By the way, since I do point this out when it happens
Brandon Nimmo: 410th player in Mets history to hit a HR, has as many as Bartolo Colón
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) July 2, 2016
The beneficiary of all these runs was Jacob deGrom. It was about time the Mets scored some runs for him too. The Mets had not given him more than two runs of support since May 27th. He’s had the fourth worst run support in the majors this year with the Mets scoring 2.89 runs per game for him (Matt Harvey has the second least with 2.79).
deGrom would finally get his first win since April 30th. His ability to get this win was in doubt as there was a rain delay for over an hour before the third inning. Terry Collins sent him out there anyway, and deGrom lasted five innings allowing three hits, one earned, and one walk with seven strikeouts. The lone run he allowed was a solo home run off the bat of Kris Bryant. It’s possible deGrom could’ve gone more than five as he was only up to 85 pitches. However, once there was another rain delay in the sixth, the third one of the game, deGrom was done for the night.
Needless to say, deGrom pitched much better out of the delay than Hammel did. The Mets pummeled Hammel in this 10-2 win like they did in Game 4 of the NLCS.
Game Notes: Loney was 3-4 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer. He was a triple short of a cycle. He actually hit one this year. It was a June 18th game against the Braves. Seth Lugo made his major league debut in the eighth inning wearing number 67. He became the first Met to ever wear that number. Lugo got it up to 97 MPH showing real promise out of the pen. He pitched two scoreless innings allowing two singles, a HBP, and striking out a batter. He also had his first balk falling off the mound before delivering a pitch.
David Wright attended his second straight game. For safety reasons, he watched the game from the bullpen.
In Max Scherzer‘s last three starts (including tonight) against the Mets, he has allowed four hits total. In essence, he only allows one hit per outing against the Mets. Asdrubal Cabrera took care of that one hit with a second inning single. Since it wasn’t a home run, it meant the Mets weren’t going to score off of him.
No, it didn’t help that Curtis Granderson needed to be scratched from the lineup after getting nicked up yesterday. His absence was all the greater when Terry Collins decided to put Alejandro De Aza and his .216 OBP in the lead off spot. It really makes no sense at all until you consider
The decision worked as well as everyone thought it would. Brandon Nimmo hit a one out single in the eighth chasing Scherzer from the game. Granderson then pinch hit for Rene Rivera and singled off Oliver Perez. After a Travis d’Arnaud pinch hit fielder’s choice, the Mets sent up De Aza.
Dusty Baker brought in his closer, Shawn Kelley, for the four out save as he was the only person in the ballpark who thought De Aza was a threat. Despite having been 3-3 off Kelley in his career, De Aza would strikeout to end the inning.
It also didn’t help that the Mets didn’t re-sign Daniel Murphy in the offseason. He’s now a National AND a Mets killer. Coming into tonight’s game, he was hitting .419/.441/.645 with two homers and eight RBI. Tonight was more of the same:
— MLB (@MLB) June 29, 2016
Murphy’s homer was one of the two runs scored off of Logan Verrett who made a good spot start. He pitched five innings allowing the two runs with four walks and one strikeout. It didn’t matter as the Mets didn’t score any runs for him.
If there was any hope the Mets would comeback, Murphy crushed those hopes:
— #VoteNats (@Nationals) June 30, 2016
Murphy’s two run home run off Sean Gilmartin in the eighth made it 4-0. It put the game out of reach. The James Loney two run homer in the ninth really only served to end a 23 inning scoreless streak. The Mets lost 4-2 and fell to six games behind the Nationals in the division.
Game Notes: Nimmo took some poor routes on balls leading to some base hits that led to a run in the third. Antonio Bastardo pitched two scoreless innings. Murphy went 2-4 with two runs, three RBI, and two homers.
Murph is batting .429 against the Mets so far this year, with 4 HR & 11 RBI in 9 games.
— EveryMurphyAtBat (@EveryMurphyAB) June 30, 2016
Last year, Travis d’Arnaud established himself as a major league catcher both behind and at the plate. He showed how far he had come from the player that had to be sent to down to the minors in 2014 because he wasn’t hitting.
In 67 games, d’Arnaud hit .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers and 41 RBI. He had a 127 OPS+. For the most part last year, d’Arnaud spent his time hitting fifth, sixth, and seventh. For whatever the reason, d’Arnaud was at his best when he was hitting seventh in the lineup. When he did hit seventh, d’Arnaud was hitting .311/.382/.541 with two homers and 12 RBI. d’Arnaud was hitting seventh in the lineup when he hit three homers in the postseason last year. Given the construction of the Mets roster this year, you could make the case that d’Arnaud should’ve been hitting seventh.
Instead, Terry Collins sees him as the eighth place hitter on this Mets team. There was a legitimate reason for it when he was hitting behind players like David Wright, Lucas Duda, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Now, it is a bad decision. Duda and Wright are on the disabled list, and Conforto is in the minor leagues. Now, Collins is hitting d’Arnaud behind players he is clearly better. Take a look at the players who are currently hitting ahead of d’Arnaud:
- James Loney – a career .285/.338/.411 hitter who was released by the Rays prior to the start of the season.
- Wilmer Flores – a career .252/.290/.383 hitter who lost his starting job to Ruben Tejada last year and was never considered for a starting job this season
- Brandon Nimmo – a promising rookie
Given how much d’Arnaud progressed last year, it is easy to say he is better than these options, and accordingly, he should hit higher in the lineup. However, d’Arnaud is struggling this year only hitting .206/.270/.250 with no homers. There are various reasons for these struggles from his wrapping his hands around Julio Franco style when he bats to him starting with an open stance and closing it as the pitch is being delivered. He’s just not as quiet in his stance as he was last year when he was having his most successful season. It’s possible some of these changes were made due to his shoulder. It’s also possible these changes were made due to the struggles he has been facing while hitting eighth in the order.
In 17 of his 19 games this year, d’Arnaud has hit .203/.277/.254 while hitting eighth in the order. For his career, he is hitting .194/.278/.287 from that spot in the lineup. That includes him going 0-3 against the Nationals yesterday. In his entire career, d’Arnaud has never hit well out of the eighth spot in the lineup. It has been more of the same this year, and quite possibly, it has led to d’Arnaud reverting to some bad habits at the plate. The Mets need to get him going in order to help with their offensive woes. It’s possible the best way to cure help him and the Mets is to take him out of the eighth spot.
In the top of the third, the Mets went up 4-0, and it seemed like the game was over. The Mets were hitting Nationals’ starter Joe Ross hard. The Mets had Noah Syndergaard on the mound who never loses with a four run lead:
Noah Syndergaard is 13-1 in his career when the @Mets score 4+ runs in a game
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 28, 2016
Then the bottom of the third happened. The Nationals would send nine men to the plate. The Nationals scored five runs on five hits, one walk, and four stolen bases. Like most of baseball, the Nationals ran wild on Syndergaard:
— MLB (@MLB) June 28, 2016
Syndergaard just didn’t have it tonight. As Ron Darling would say, Syndergaard looked flustered. For a pitcher that rarely walks anyone, he issued three walks. He threw a wild pitch in the fateful third. With him previously complaining of some elbow soreness, and the recent Steven Matz news, there will be some Mets fans who panic. Mercifully, Collins pulled Matz after three innings after he threw 71 pitches allowing seven hits, five earned, and three walks with five strikeouts.
In true Mets fashion, an embattled Ross would settle down. Neither he nor the other Nationals pitchers would allow another run.
However, Sean Gilmartin and Erik Goeddel would. Gilmartin pitched two innings allowing seven hits, five earned, and one walk with one strikeout. Goeddel allowed a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. Amazingly, Antonio Bastardo was the only Mets pitcher that didn’t allow a run.
The only thing worse than the Mets pitching tonight was James Loney‘s defense. To say he had fall-down left, fall-down right range would’ve been complimentary. During the key rallies, there were a few balls hit by him that a first baseman with range could’ve fielded. He also made a mental error in the fifth inning. With the infield in, he fielded a ball off the bat of Ben Revere. Instead of stepping on first, he threw home to try to get Danny Espinosa, who he had no chance of throwing out at the plate. Revere would later score on a Jayson Werth double.
The fifth inning might still be happening if not for Werth’s classless play. With the score 10-4, Werth broke home on a Bryce Harper infield single, and Loney easily threw him out.
Overall, the Nationals beat the Mets in every way possible. It was an 11-4 laugher for them:
— #VoteNats (@Nationals) June 28, 2016
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo collected his first career hit and run scored. He finished the night 2-4 with a run.
To put it as succinctly as possible, Alejandro De Aza has not been a good baseball player this year. He rarely plays, and when he does play, he has only served as a detriment. In 52 games, he has hit .169/.221/.247 with a 28 OPS+. To put it in perspective, everyone’s least favorite Met, Eric Campbell, is hitting .159/.270/.222 with a 37 OPS+. When you are incapable of outplaying Campbell, who is currently playing in AAA, you must question what purpose it serves having De Aza on the major league roster.
Initially, Terry Collins wanted De Aza to suceed. It was less than a month ago that Collins said he wanted to get De Aza more playing time so he could get going and put up the numbers he once did. Collins stayed true to his word as De Aza has played more in June than any other month. De Aza has played in a season high 20 games and received a season high 42 plate appearances. He has rewarded Collins by having his worst month of the season hitting .128/.171/.205. Slowly, Collins realized that whatever the reason, this wasn’t working out, and he began to look elsewhere for outfield options in the wake of Juan Lagares on the disabled list and Yoenis Cespedes being a bit nicked up. It has gotten to the point where Collins put Matt Reynolds in left for a game despite Reynolds never having played a game in the outfield as a professional.
Still, De Aza got some starts and at bats as he was the only completely healthy center fielder on the roster. However, at this point, Collins may have had enough of De Aza.
On Satuday, the Mets were locked in a scoreless game in the top of the tenth. De Aza was sent up there to bunt Wilmer Flores over to second base in the hopes that the Mets could FINALLY push a run across the plate. De Aza then popped the bunt in the air and made zero effort to get to first. This led to Braves’ pitcher Jim Johnson astutely letting it drop and completing the double play. Collins was incensed and laid into De Aza. After the game, he said, “I’ve seen [De Aza] play, and the one thing he is known for is how hard he plays. But it goes to show you — everybody gets frustrated when they don’t do the job.” (New York Post). It seems that Collins had finally had enough.
Yesterday, Collins decided to put rookie Brandon Nimmo in right field, a position he has only played 32 times in six minor league seasons and Kelly Johnson in left field. After Saturday, it is no surprise that De Aza was on the bench. In fact, the only surprise would have been if De Aza received any consideration to start.
What is even more surprising is De Aza’s presence on the major league roster. We can all agree De Aza is a much better player he has shown on the Mets, but so did John Mayberry last year. For whatever reason, it hasn’t worked for either player during their time with the Mets. The Mets were wise to cut bait with Mayberry last year, and they should do the same with De Aza this year. In his stead, the Mets have a few good options in the minors that could easily replicate, if not improve, what De Aza has given the Mets this year.
First, there is Travis Taijeron. He is currently hitting .306/.392/.568 in AAA right now. He has shown powers at each level he plays, and he should be able to hit for some power in the big leagues. He is a good defensive corner outfielder that may not be able to handle center that well. However, with Nimmo on the roster, finding a backup center fielder is not as big a priority right now.
If the Mets wanted to go with a true back up center fielder and a player with big league experience, they could go with Roger Bernadina. Bernadina has played a steady center field over his major league career. Over his last three major league seasons, he averaged a -0.2 UZR and a 0.7 DRS in center fielder. These are unspectacular numbers, but it goes to show you he will not hurt the Mets if he is needed to play center field.
At the plate, he is a .236/.307/.354 major league hitter. However, Bernadina played in the minor leagues all of last year. Given what De Aza has done this year you’d be hard pressed to say Bernadina’s career numbers wouldn’t be an improvement. In AAA, he has hit .298/.384/.466, which coincidentally, is very similar to the .276/.383/.466 he put up in the Pacific Coast League last year. At a minimum, you can say that Bernadina is not a player in decline like Mayberry was last year and De Aza seems to be this year.
Given the Mets current World Series aspirations, they can ill afford to wait for De Aza especially since he looks dejected out there. He is forcing the Mets hands to make a move similar to how the Mets made a move on Mayberry last year. With Taijeron and Bernadina in the minors, the Mets can and should release De Aza and call-up a player who promises to put up better production.
This was a bizarre day even for the Mets. The Mets sent down Michael Conforto and calling-up Brandon Nimmo. Jose Reyes was brought back despite the domestic violence incident. With all of that going on, the Mets still had a game to play.
Jacob deGrom was shaky early on needing a few double plays to get out of a couple of innings unscathed. Overall, he pitched well against a bad Braves team. His final like was eight innings, seven hits, no runs, one walk, and six strikeouts. However, he did not get the win as the Mets offense failed him.
There was a threat in the third when Yoenis Cespedes tried to stretch a single into a double. He was easily out at second when he refused to slide. Instead of second and third with one it, Curtis Granderson stood alone on the basepaths with two outs. A Neil Walker pop out would put an end to the Mets only real threat against Braves’ starter Julio Teheran.
Teheran matched deGrom zero for zero. He too lasted eight innings. He only allowed five hits, no runs, and no walks with seven strikeouts. You could call it a pitcher’s duel between two talented pitchers. You could also call it an contest in ineptitude between two dreadful offenses.
The Braves chance for a walk-off win was stymied in the ninth when Granderson made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the inning and send the game into extras.
The Mets finally broke through in the eleventh when ex-Brave Kelly Johnson hit a homer off ex-Met Dario Alvarez to put the Mets up 1-0. All that was needed was for Jeurys Familia to shut the door and recorded his 26th straight save to open the season. Given the Mets luck and Familia pitching more than one inning thd night before, it didn’t promise to be easy. It wasn’t.
The Braves had a runner on second with one out and Freddie Freeman coming to the plate. At that point, Terry Collins made something readily apparent. He watches Mets games as closely as Mets fans do. He knows Freeman kills the Mets like other Braves’ Mets killers in the past like Chipper Jones (sorry Larry), Brian Jordan, etc. With that in mind, Collins ordered Famila to intentionally walk Freeman.
It was a smart play as it prevented Freemam from killing the Mets again. It was a smart play as it set up the double play. When Nick Markakis hit the comebacker, the Mets got end the game by turning the double play. The 1-6-3 double play was the Mets third of the night.
With all the emotion from today and drama that followed the Mets around most of this year, it is easy to forget the Mets are only two games back in the division and one in the loss column. The Mets will try to get closer tomorrow.
Game Notes: In honor of the Negro Leagues, the Mets wore Brooklyn Royal Giants gear. As Nimmo didn’t get to Atlanta in time, the Mets started Alejandro De Aza, who was 0-4 with a strikeout. Travis d’Arnaud threw out another would be base stealer.
Upon hearing the news that Yoenis Cespedes will not have to go on the disabled list with his sprained wrist, everyone from Terry Collins to Mr. Met to each and every Mets fan breathed a sigh of relief. As soon as everyone realizes that Cespedes is day-to-day and Alejandro De Aza will get more playing time, the trepidation may return even after yesterday’s well played game.
Given that prospect, it might be time to call-up Brandon Nimmo up to the majors now to play center until Cespedes is ready to resume playing everyday.
Nimmo has certainly earned the promotion. He has gotten progressively better as the season as progressed. Here are his monthly splits:
- April .260/.333/.315
- May .326/.421/.565
- June .388/.455/.642
Over his last 46 games, Nimmo is hitting .370/.453/.603 with 14 doubles, seven triples, five homers, and 34 RBI. Nimmo’s production is quickly moving from short sample size to true talent level. No matter the case, he’s playing extraordinarily well. This is the precise point you want to bring a player to the majors.
Furthermore, Nimmo helps the Mets in a lot of ways. On a station-to-station team, he’s a top of the order hitter that had the speed to take the extra base. He’s also a good defensive center fielder, which would permit Cespedes to play left field, his Gold Glove position, when he’s capable of returning to the line-up on a full time basis.
There’s just one problem with this line of thinking. It discounts Michael Conforto. This is the same Conforto that was a vital part of the Mets offense not only last year, but this year as well. This is the same Conforto that has risen to each and every challenge before him.
This is also the same Conforto who has hit .153/.213/.314 in the 42 games he has played since May 1st. Over the past week, he’s 1-14. He’s 4-44 against lefties this year. There are many reasons why he could be hitting this poorly from his injured wrist to his approach at the plate. Whatever the cause, he’s not figuring it out in the majors right now, and he’s hurting the team in the process. The Mets need to do what is best for him and the team by sending him down to AAA. He can correct his approach there and gain some confidence while batting in the hitter’s haven that is the Pacific Coast League.
In the interim, Nimmo gets his well earned shot. Terry Collins can figure out left field until Cespedes is ready. With his recent play and especially yesterday’s game, it may not hurt to give Matt Reynolds some more games in left field. At least for right now, that is what will be best for the Mets.
It will also benefit the Mets in the future. Nimmo and Conforto are a big part of the Mets future. Conforto needs to get himself straight at the plate, and eventually, Nimmo has to be thrown into the deep end to see if he can swim. Both can happen now, and both players could be better for it. It’s time to send down Conforto and call-up Nimmo.
Editor’s Note: this article was first published on metsminors.net
It seemed like disaster struck for the Mets. Both Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes were forced to leave Wednesday’s game due to injuries. For Cespedes, it was his left wrist. For Syndergaard, it was the dreaded elbow complaints. Speaking of elbow complaints, it appeared that Zack Wheeler had a Jeremy Hefner-like setback during his Tommy John rehab.
It was seriousness enough that the Mets weren’t screwing around this time. They immediately sent Cespedes and Syndergaard to see Dr. Altchek.
While these two Mets were getting themselves examined for potential season-ending injuries, Mets fans were left to drive themselves crazy. I spent most of the time trying to talk myself into Sean Gilmartin or Rafael Montero as a viable fifth starter. I looked to see how Brandon Nimmo‘s numbers would translate to the majors. I thought about moves like signing Yusileski Gourriel.
I kept reminding myself that Steven Matz was 7-3. I harkened back to last year when there was a big three of Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom. We haven’t seen the best of Harvey or deGrom yet, and Matz had shown the ability to potentially replicate what Syndergaard last year. I kept telling myself the Mets were going to be fine. All they have to do is make the playoffs with that pitching staff and bullpen. It was possible.
Fortunately, Syndergaard put our minds at ease:
After that tidbit of good news, we learned neither he nor Cespedes are headed to the DL. Furthermore, tests revealed Wheeler has no structural damages.
We don’t know when Cespedes can return to the lineup, nor do we know if Syndergaard will make his next start. However, we do know they will play again in the near future. We also learned there is still hope for Wheeler returning to the Mets to pitch this year. It’s a huge relief.
Now, instead of staying up all night trying to dream up scenarios where the Mets can compete without their best hitter or pitcher, I can put my head down and go to sleep in peace. I imagine that I’ll dream of the Mets winning the World Series behind Cespedes, Syndergaard, and maybe even Wheeler.
From time to time, if you listen to the Mets telecasts close enough, you will hear Keith Hernandez tell the story of his 1975 season. After getting called-up and playing well in 1974, he thought he was in the majors for good. That wasn’t the case. In 1975, he was hitting .250/.309/.362 in 64 games. He left the Cardinals with little other choice but to send him down to the minors, and they did.
Initially, Hernandez was humiliated by the moment. However, he took advantage of the opportunity. Down in the minors, he got his swing right. He came back to the majors in 1976, and he he hit .289/.376/.428. He was back in the majors, and he was back for good. Hernandez would go on to win the 1979 batting title and MVP Award (shared with Willie Stargell). He had a bat to match his unparalleled defense. From that adversity, Hernandez would become a champion as a member of the 1982 and 1986 World Series teams. In total, Hernandez put together a borderline Hall of Fame career. It is something he might not have done had he not ever gone to the minors. As he has said, it was the best thing that ever happened to his career.
If you listen to Mets telecasts closely enough, you will also notice that Hernandez is a huge fan of Michael Conforto. You will also notice Conforto is struggling mightily like Hernandez did in 1975.
It was not too long ago that Conforto seemed to be a budding superstar. Having never played above AA, Conforto was called-up to the majors last year to hit .270/.335/.506 in 56 games. He hit two home runs in Game 4 of the World Series. He started this season off hitting .365/.442/.676 with four homers in April. The question then wasn’t whether he was major league ready, the question was how high his ceiling could possibly be. It seemed that Conforto was a likely All Star, possibly more. Then the calendar turned to May.
Since May 1st, Conforto has hit .157/.212/.321. There could be a multitude of reasons why this has happened from major league pitchers figuring him out and Conforto failing to make the needed adjustments to the cortisone shot Conforto needed in his wrist. Bottom line is Conforto has gone from playing at an All Star level to being a player who belongs in the minor leagues. Considering the fact that Terry Collins wants to “shake things up” it may be a signal that the Mets are willing to demote Conforto. It may not be the worst thing for Conforto or the Mets.
Conforto can go to Las Vegas and get himself right. He can spend time down there not only working on his swing but also his approach at the plate. Furthermore, hitting in a hitter’s haven like the Pacific Coast League could do wonders for a player that has been struggling for well over a month in the majors. We all saw how well this worked for Travis d’Arnaud back in 2014. He came back a much better player after his time in the minors. We also saw the positive effects of such a demotion with Keith Hernandez.
In the interim, the Mets could choose to give Alejandro De Aza some additional playing time to see if he can start playing like the player they thought he was when the Mets signed him in the offseason. The Mets could decided to turn to Brandon Nimmo who has been raking in AAA. Maybe, just maybe, the Mets could allow Conforto to start taking grounders at first considering James Loney is not the long term answer and no one knows when Lucas Duda can return from the disabled list.
Ultimately, this could be the best thing that has happened to both Conforto and the Mets. If the Mets have designs on returning to the World Series, they are going to need Conforto, who, when right, is the most complete hitter on the team. While he’s finding his stroke in the minors, Nimmo could get his chance to see if he is indeed ready to play in the majors. If Conforto is able to pick up first base, then the Mets could keep Nimmo in left when Conforto is ready to return to the majors. It might be time to send Conforto to AAA for not only his own good, but also for the good of the Mets.
After all, it worked for Keith Hernandez.