Michael Conforto has learned a harsh lesson about life in majors: There’s a limit to patience.
The New York Mets have demoted the 23-year-old outfielder to the team’s Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas to bring up another promising player in Brandon Nimmo. Conforto’s left-field spot will be filled by his promoted replacement.
Both players were former first-rounders by the Mets with Nimmo being drafted out of high school in 2011 and Conforto getting selected in 2014 out of Oregon State University.
The move comes as a surprise considering how strongly Conforto started with the Mets this season and how he finished the 2015 regular season. In April, he appeared to be headed towards a breakout season, hitting .365 with four homers and 18 RBIs and at one point was hitting No. 3 in the batting order. Yet, his hitting took a dramatic dip since that month, hitting just .107 over his last 25 games. The N.Y. Daily News reported that the team was concerned that the player was too focused on the long ball.
“I see an uphill swing,” one Mets official told the N.Y. Daily News when asked about what Conforto has been doing wrong. “He’s trying to hit home runs all the time. He needs to use the whole field.”
The paper also reported that the Mets were concerned about Conforto confidence because of the demotion but with the team still in the race for both the NL East and the NL Wild Card, it couldn’t afford to wait any longer to determine if he could rebound.
Nimmo was Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick as manager of the team and while he initially struggled in the minors, he’s had a strong start to this year in Triple-A, batting .328 with a .409 OBP, five homers and 37 RBIs in 63 games.