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Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto Proves He Belongs

Outfielder Michael Conforto was the NY Mets lone representative at the All-Star game this year. He’ll be playing in a lot more of them if the improvement he’s shown this season is any indication. First, a look at his numbers so far this year thru August 10th. In 389 plate appearances, batting in the lead-off position most of the time, Conforto has hit 24 home runs with a slash line of .290/.396/.573. He has a wRC+ of 153 and a 3.4 WAR. The numbers speak for themselves. He might have had a bit of luck, with a BABIP of .343. But he makes soft contact less than 20% of the time.

Michael Conforto Scouting Report

Conforto was the Mets first round draft pick in 2014, chosen 10th overall. He made his major league debut in late July of 2015. He came up straight from AA, having had less than 600 plate appearances in the minor leagues.

Michael excelled immediately at the major league level. As the Mets made their late season run to the World Series that year, in 194 plate appearances he hit 9 home runs with a slash line of .270/.335/.506. He had a wRC+ of 133 and a 2.1 WAR. He even hit 2 home runs in consecutive at-bats of Game 4 of the World Series. Mets fans had high hopes going into the off season.

But 2016 brought the first struggle of Conforto’s young career. In 348 plate appearances he hit 12 home runs with a slash line of .220/.310/.414. He had a wRC+ of 96 and a 1.3 WAR. Midway during the season, Michael was sent down to AAA Las Vegas to work on his swing, which had become too pull heavy.

All-Star Season

This year, the 24-year-old Conforto got off to a fast start in April. Other than a very slight slump in June, he continued to do well through the first half. A key reason is that he returned to hitting the ball to all fields as this spray chart shows:

Conforto Spray Chart

Playing Centerfield

Conforto has played mostly centerfield this year despite it not being his natural position. With the recent trade of Jay Bruce, it’s possible he’ll be moved over to right field. But Michael told the DailyNews that he has gotten used to playing centerfield.

I think as long as I can play there, I would definitely enjoy playing there. If you’re asking me, I’d love to play out there every day. It’d be awesome. But I don’t know what the plans are for me or for the team moving forward. I guess from my standpoint all I can do is try to play as well as I can out there, show that I can cover some ground and be effective out there. But I definitely enjoy playing out there, that’s for sure. So we’ll see what happens. For me, obviously I need to keep working to make sure that I’m up to that level of playing defense. But I think also it’s very valuable to have a center fielder who can hit, and that’s not always the case. So there’s a little bit of both. I think I’m improving defensively. I think I’ve improved from last year and I don’t see any reason why I can’t keep getting better.

Based on how he has improved so far this season, Mets fans don’t have any reason to doubt him.

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Photo by slgckgc