New York Mets' Michael Conforto is Ready to Be the Face of the Franchise
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 13: Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets high fives teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 13, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Michael Conforto has shown that his impact with the New York Mets travels far deeper than statistics. Though the stats are nice to have.

After hitting .220 with a .725 OPS over 109 games last season, some questioned whether Michael Conforto‘s play in the 2015 playoffs was a fluke. It wasn’t.

A first-time All-Star in 2017, Conforto his hitting .285 with 26 home runs, 64 RBI, 69 runs scored and a .969 OPS in just 99 games. He’s gone deep five times in his last eight games and is hitting .291 with a 1.012 OPS since the All-Star break.

He’s one of the only reasons the Mets’ record (53-62) isn’t worse.

Tonight, the Mets and Yankees will meet for the first time in 2017. When last they met, there were major questions surrounding Conforto and Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.

The two have become the most important offensive players for their teams since. While Conforto has been on fire as of late, and Judge has struggled, folks can’t help but try and compare the two.

Conforto was asked about those comparisons after the Mets beat Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s not something I’m focused on. Our goal is to go in there and win.” Like Judge, Conforto’s humble, team-first attitude shows maturity beyond their years.

Judge’s ridiculous first half has allowed his recent struggles to not destroy his season-long stats. Entering play Sunday, he was still hitting a strong .289 with 35 home runs, 78 RBI, 87 runs scored and a 1.026 OPS.

Judge may appear to be the more valuable player, but that’s far from a sure thing.

Most teams have close to 60 games left before the playoffs. That’s plenty of time for Conforto to either pass Judge statistically or for Judge to heat up again. Only time will tell.

Despite missing a few weeks of baseball ahead of the All-Star Break, Conforto leads the Mets in home runs (26), RBI (64), Runs (69), OBP (.392), and hits (97).

Conforto and Judge played on the same team at the 2015 Futures game and most recently battled against each other in the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami.

Based on their positive interactions with one another during these two games, there is no doubt that the two have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. In fact, Conforto had plenty of nice things to say about Judge this past May.

Super nice guy,” Conforto told Abbey Mastracco of “He’s huge but he’s one of the nicest guys that you’ll meet. And you don’t expect that from such a big guy. That was my first impression that he’s super nice. Kind of a gentle giant.”

Conforto can handle himself on and off the field. Celebrity doesn’t concern him—winning does. Beloved in the clubhouse, he’s not only become the Mets’ leader, he’s become the face of the franchise.