Brooklyn may be thousands of miles from the Pacific Northwest, but Michael Conforto says he feels right at home.
The Mets’ 2014 first-round draft pick out of Oregon State went 1-for-4 with a run in his professional debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park Saturday night. The Cyclones beat the Williamsport Crosscutters, 8-4, in the Class A New York-Penn League game.
“It’s a new chapter in my life,” said Conforto, 21, who batted fourth and was the Cyclones’ designated hitter. “I’m very, very excited to start here in Brooklyn.”
Conforto, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder who was the 10th overall pick in the June draft, flied out in his first two at-bats before hitting a hard ground-ball single into rightfield in the sixth inning. He grounded out to short in the seventh.
“There was a little sigh of relief there,” Conforto said of his first professional hit. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way. But I felt good at the plate. I felt like I was seeing the ball well, I put some good swings on the ball and had some good at-bats.”
Said Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa: “It was a nice debut for Michael. Everyone is real happy for him. As good a player as he is, I think his quality as a person might even be better. Sometimes number-one picks, they don’t fit in. This guy, his personality is so affable and pleasant, he mingled [well] with everybody.”
The native of Washington state said he is enjoying his time in Brooklyn.
“New York’s great,” he said. “The food is awesome. I’ve definitely had quite a few sandwiches and some Italian food. I love it. The people are great here. Obviously, they love baseball, and that’s all I could ask for.”
Conforto finished his college career in early June with a .340 batting average, .463 on-base percentage and .557 slugging percentage in three seasons. He led the Pac-12 in on-base percentage and slugging last season.
ESPN’s Keith Law has Conforto ranked 32nd on his list of the top 50 prospects in baseball, calling him “the most advanced college bat in the draft class this year.” He also wrote, “He’s very close to major league-ready.”
“I can promise I’m going to work hard, come to work every day and do all the things I need to play at a high level and get myself up to par with these guys that are playing real well right now,” Conforto said. “I want to try to help this team win.
“I’m going to be working on every facet of my game. It’s my job now, and that’s pretty cool that I get to say that.”