Michael Conforto who is a left-handed hitting and righthanded throwing outfielder is the most promising homegrown position prospect brought up to the major leagues by the New York Mets in twenty years.
After a stellar three year career at Oregon State University, Michael was drafted by the New York Mets as the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the year 2014 Major League Baseball Draft.
Conforto was originally assigned by the Mets to the Brooklyn Cyclones (Class A) in the short season NY Penn League. Conforto proved that he could adapt to using wood bats by posting a .331 batting average, a .403 on base percentage and a .448 slugging percentage in 163 plate appearances in Brooklyn. These were impressive numbers for a 21 year old getting his first exposure to professional ball.
Conforto was promoted to St. Lucie (Class A – Advanced) Florida State League and continued hitting in year 2015. As a St. Lucie Met Conforto hit to a batting average of .283, an on base percentage of .350 and a slugging percentage of .462 in 184 plate appearances. In recognition of his advanced approach to hitting, the Mets rewarded Conforto with a midseason promotion to their Double A affiliate, the Binghamton Mets.
At Binghamton, Conforto put himself onto a fast track to the big leagues by improving his offensive statistics. Conforto batted .312 with a .396 on base percentage and .503 slugging percentage in 173 plate appearances at Binghamton.
The Mets would have preferred to send Conforto to Las Vegas to establish himself in the highest level of minor league baseball, but, July 2015 found the big league team in desperate need of offense. The defending Eastern Division champion Washington Nationals were floundering and the Mets were wasting their starting pitching with an inability to score. On July 24, 2015, The Mets made an uncomfortable decision, and promoted Conforto to the big team. Although Conforto did not immediately set the league on fire, he showed that he would not be overmatched by major league pitching.
Within days of Conforto’s promotion, The Mets added professional bats Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and most notably Yoennis Cespedes. The four additions combined with the return to health of three previously injured players (Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Travis D’Arnaud) turned the Mets offensive weakness into a strength and provided the impetus for the teams surprising run to the World Series. In World Series Game 4 Michael Conforto hit two home runs.
As a second year player, Conforto will be under team control for several seasons. He will first become eligible for salary arbitration in year 2019 and free agency in year 2022. Conforto should provide the Mets with a highly productive low cost option for several years.
In year 2016, Michael will be the team’s primary leftfielder against righthanded pitching. Over the next few years, he will have ample opportunity to work on his one remaining weakness, which is hitting lefthanded pitching.
In the meantime, Mets fans should enjoy watching this youngster grow as a major league ballplayer. Michael brings great talent, unusual maturity and a strong work ethic. The ceiling for Conforto is very high. It would not be surprising if he eventually becomes a 30+ home run hitter and an all-star caliber player.