Despite a two-month layoff, his status as a first-round selection and starting his career a mere 20 miles from Citi Field under the magnifying glass of the New York media, the initial pressures of life as a pro have not fazed outfielder Michael Conforto.
The 10th overall pick in the June Draft has let all that roll off his shoulders and gotten off to a hot start, showing no signs of rust and a penchant for dealing with the big-city media throng that has descended upon Brooklyn to scope out the Mets' next big thing.
"I love the fact that I'm right in the hive of all the Mets fans," said Conforto. "It's a pretty special experience to be starting my career [in New York], and the goal is ultimately to end my career there. Although there are some things that come with it, like media stuff, or if I don't perform ... it's not something I particularly worry about. I'm excited to be in Brooklyn."
Following three successful seasons at Oregon State, including a run with Team USA in the summer of 2013, the Mets pegged the former Pac-12 Player of the Year with their first-round selection.
While ironing out the details of his contract, Conforto enjoyed some time away from the game at home in Washington.
"A little time back home with the family can really go a long way," said the Mets' No. 4 prospect. "I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while, a lot of old friends. My body started to feel better. … I needed that. It helped on the mental side for sure."
He finally put pen to paper on July 11, and eight days later he debuted with the Cyclones as their designated hitter, going 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single and a run scored.
Conforto started his pro career with a 10-game hitting streak and has been on base in all 12 games he's played, something that has not surprised the 21-year-old.
"I wouldn't say it's miraculous that I came out and was ready," said Conforto, who is batting .409 with five doubles and six RBIs. "Maybe it's tough sometimes, but I definitely put the work in while I was back home for two months. I wanted to come in feeling as good as possible so I could play at a high level."
Being calm in the eye of the storm has allowed Conforto to simply go about his daily business as he learns about the Minor League lifestyle.
"I've been really lucky to be put in Brooklyn with a great group of guys," said Conforto. "I'm just looking to get that pro experience, get my feet wet in what pro ball is all about, with the travel and playing every day.
"'I'm on my way to getting what I wanted to get out of my first pro experience. We'll see what's next."
Running point: Tri-City outfielder Derek Fisher has hit safely in 21 of his 23 games with the ValleyCats. The Astros' No. 13 prospect, batting .352 with a .420 slugging percentage, has 26 runs scored, tied with Bobby Boyd for most on the team. Fisher also has a team-best 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
One-man buzzsaw: Brandon Leibrandt has impressed in his first three starts for the Williamsport Crosscutters. Since arriving from the Gulf Coast League in the middle of July, the left-hander has allowed just one run overall and has gone six innings in each outing. Son of former big leaguer Charlie, the Florida State product has struck out 18 and scattered six hits while walking four over 18 innings with Williamsport.
Island in the sun: A 27th-round pick this past June, Hudson Valley's Grant Kay has seven multi-hit efforts in his first 14 professional games. He had a five-hit debut and, in the Renegades' recent three-game sweep of Vermont, Kay went 7-for-10 with three RBIs and three runs scored.