Michael Conforto is the type of player who you can argue doesn’t quite get the respect that he deserves. He currently has an average ADP of 117.45 in recent NFBC drafts, despite posting the following numbers a year ago:
549 At Bats
.257 Batting Average (141 Hits)
33 Home Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.363 On Base Percentage
.494 Slugging Percentage
.290 Batting Average on Balls in Play
While you could try to argue that the power came due to the surge around the game, he’s continued to add power with each year in the Majors. His 20.5% HR/FB is right in line with his career mark (19.7%), and it was fairly consistent all season long (he had a 20.0% HR/FB or better in four of six months in ’19). He also surprisingly was more productive at home (18 HR in 248 AB) than on the road (15 HR in 301 AB), which further supports his 30+ HR upside.
That leaves his average, which got better as the season progressed (he hit .271 in the second half). His 23.0% strikeout rate is hardly a crippling mark, and there was no type of pitch he particularly struggled with (Whiff%):
- Hard – 10.34%
- Breaking – 12.52%
- Offspeed – 18.04%
That helps to support a better average, and his willingness to go the other way (27.7% Oppo%) and stay within the strike zone (27.3% O-Swing%) should support a better BABIP. We saw the results start to materialize after the All-Star Break, including seeing his Hard% rise to 39.9%, and it’s easy to envision him building upon it.
He already spent 2019 hitting in the middle of the order, with the bulk of his AB coming hitting third (118 AB) or fourth (226 AB). That should once again be his spot, joining Pete Alonso and a hopefully a resurgent Robinson Cano to create a formidable group. That should once again bring 90/90 upside in R/RBI, creating a strong buying opportunity.
While others appear to be discrediting his success, what’s not to like with the potential to go .270/30/90/90 or better? Considering he’s looking like a tenth or eleventh round draft pick, there’s value. Let others ignore him and be ready to reap the rewards.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, CBS Sports