The Ditch List: Has The Time Come To Give Up On Michael Conforto?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s been a roller coaster ride for Michael Conforto owners.  He was expected to miss the first month of the season, but suddenly was deemed ready and joined the Mets in early April.  That brought optimism, as we would be receiving virtually a full season from a player who was expected to take that next step forward after hitting .279 with 27 HR in 440 PA in ’17.

Fast forward one month and the feeling has changed.  Conforto is off to a miserable start, hitting .209 with 1 HR over 86 PA, and now fantasy owners are considering whether or not he’s even worth owning.  Is now the time to be buying low or should we truly cut bait and move on?

We have to remember that Conforto only had 6 AB this spring, and while he was working and getting ready outside of official games it’s easy to argue that he simply needed time to get up-to-speed.  At this point you would think he’d have gotten there, and while he’s still slumping the underlying metrics offer reason for optimism.

When you look at his approach/batted ball profile there’s no real red flag compared to last season:

Year
Line Drive %
Groundball %
Fly Ball %
SwStr%
O-Swing%
201724.4%37.8%37.8%11.5%26.6%
201825.5%40.4%34.0%9.6%23.3%

Conforto is showing a better command of the strike zone, with a 19.8% walk rate.  He’s dropped his Whiff% against breaking balls (15.91% to 6.74%), which adds to the promise and shows signs of turning things around.

It’s not all rosy, as he’s struggled with popups (25.0%) and isn’t hitting the ball exceptionally hard (29.8% Hard%, compared to a career mark of 40.1%).  He’s been around long enough to think both of those numbers will improve, and maybe it was his lack of time this spring that has loomed large.  While he’s opened May going 0-7, he also has shown a dramatic change in both of those key numbers:

  • Popups – 0.00%
  • Hard% – 50.0%

Is anyone going to make a decision off of 7 AB?  Of course not, but it shows signs that things are ready to turn.  Maybe he doesn’t match last season’s 27.3% HR/FB, but the 25-year old is better than his current 5.9% mark.  It all comes together to show the upside and tells you that now is not the time to lose hope.  Things are going to change so now is the time to be buying as opposed to selling/cutting bait.

Verdict – Hold ‘Em (and an ideal Buy Low candidate)

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, Brooks Baseball

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