Seventh? Can you believe it? Michael Conforto was in the starting lineup for Monday’s game – that was rained out – but hitting seventh in the order.
After a successful stint in the minors that culminated in two hits Sunday in Miami, that’s not where he should be in the order. Manager Terry Collins should leave Conforto in center, have him bat third and just leave him alone.
Conforto fizzled in April, got pull happy and saw his average drop from a season-high .365 on April 30 to a season-low .222 when he was sent down after four hitless games, June 21-24.
Conforto was told to concentrate on using the entire field and that’s been his mindset since coming back up.
“Just getting back to the kind of hitter that I feel like I am and use the whole field, take what the pitcher gives me,” Conforto told reporters in Miami about his hitting approach. “It’s really stuff we were working on up there. When you go down there, you get a chance to take a breath and really look at what’s going on and work on some things. It was a positive for me to go down there and work on some stuff.”
The Mets’ lineup has been dormant for much of the season, and part of the reason has been an inconsistent batting order.
Here’s what I suggest to offer stability:
Jose Reyes, 3B: He’s off to a good start since coming back and the only speed threat in the order.
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B: He’s been terrible with RISP, so why not hit him in a place where there isn’t many runners in that position? Besides, Cabrera has been successful batting second.
Conforto, CF: He shouldn’t be here if he doesn’t play, and the best thing is to play him where he’s expected to end up. No more moving him around or pinch-hitting for him against right-handers.
Yoenis Cespedes, LF: The Mets aren’t going to budge on this – Cespedes will play left. But, he’s been the best power bat so hit him cleanup.
Curtis Granderson, RF: Batting him fifth would sandwich Cespedes against two left-handers.
James Loney, 1B: He’s been a terrific pick up and done it both in the field and at the plate. I’d also hit Wilmer Flores sixth when he plays, and once again, he should be in a rotation with the other infielders.
Neil Walker, 2B: Slumps don’t get much deeper than the one Walker is currently riding. Pitchers could work around him to get to the pitcher. In the end, if Walker stays patient, this could help snap him out of a slump.
Pitcher’s spot: Ninth.