The Cyclones had a tough time buying runs during the first 30-plus games of the season, but the front office has stepped up, and for $2.97 million just purchased a whole bunch of them.
Oregon State slugger and Mets first-round draft pick Mike Conforto will join the Cyclones outfield after Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break, adding the middle-of-the-order punch the team so desperately needs.
Need proof? During the four games leading into the break, the Clones were out-scored 18–7 and the now below-.500. club has an almost league-worst .234 batting average, and has scored only 102 runs in 32 games. Compare that to the league’s most-prodigious run scorers, the State College Spikes, who knocked in 66 more runs than the Clones, thanks mainly to the team’s ungodly 30 home runs, tops in the league.
Enter the big lefty, who finished his last college season with a .345 average, seven home runs, and 58 runs batted in.
The Team USA alum, who led his team in hits, run, runs batted in, home runs, slugging percentage, and walks, had the highest on-base percentage on the squad.
He also cut down on his strikeouts during his last year in college, whiffing 38 times as compared to 47 the year before.
The Beaver outfielder and sometime-third-baseman was named a finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, an honor given to the top college player in the country. Conforto was the first Beaver to be a three time All-American. He was also named the Pacific-12 Conference Player of the Year two years in a row.
Conforto made his first trip to New York on July 11 where he finalized his signing with Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson, scouting director Tomy Tanous, and super agent Scott Boras.
He then took part in the Mets pregame workout and donned his very first professional uniform with the number 88, and his first professional batting practice with the team.
The draft was over a month ago, and until last week there was no talk of the Mets signing the first-round pick, which left many fans wondering if Conforto was going play out his senior year at Oregon State.
But now, Cyclones fans’ prayers may well be answered, as Conforto’s presence in the lineup will protect some of the Clones’ better prospects, including shortstop Ahmed Rosario, who so far has under-whelmed with his .260 average.
Add that to a pitching staff that is still one of the best in the league, and that signing bonus could pay dividends quickly for the second-place Cyclones — with a championship in Brooklyn.