Jun 23, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) reacts after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Give Michael Conforto the time he needs to develop

The sweet left swing of Michael Conforto looked unbelievable when he came up to Queens in 2015 during his first full season in professional baseball. In 56 games, he hit .270 with 14 doubles, nine homers and 26 RBIs – and fans were pumped.

April 2016 was more of the same, as Conforto smacked 11 doubles and four home runs along with 18 RBIs and a .365 average. But after the deepest prolonged slump of his young career, he was dropped down to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he again raked to the tune of a .422 average.

Conforto ended last season with 12 homers and 21 doubles, but lowered his average to .220 in the process. He did, however, play some center field, even making a diving catch there.

With the increased versatility and athleticism he showed during his time in center, Conforto bought himself a lot more value going into 2017, where can now cover the middle outfield should Granderson get traded or injured. Team brass have spoken about seeing how Conforto might work at first base, as he has showed a much better ability to hit lefties than current first baseman Lucas Duda.

If given more time to work through his issues at the plate and build similar levels of confidence to those he possessed during his first season in the majors, then Conforto may just develop into Cespedes’ batting-mate for the foreseeable future like fans have expected of him.

Chris recently graduated with a Journalism degree from Montclair State University. Baseball is his love and he hopes to bring back some of the old-school popularity to the game. Chris Thompson covers the NY Jets and NY Mets for Elite Sports NY. You can interact with him on Twitter @Time2Topher.