The Mets’ Michael Conforto isn’t generally viewed as one of the better outfielders in the league, but the results tell a different story. He put it all together in the shortened 2020, posting arguably elite numbers:
.322 (65-202), 9 HR, 31 RBI, 40 R, 3 SB
How real is his combination of power and AVG? Let’s take a look:
First let’s look at the power, which actually was a step back from the 33 HR he slugged in 2019. The difference wasn’t in his HR/FB (22.0%, up from 20.5%), but instead in the number of flyballs he hit. Just look at his past couple of seasons:
- 2017 – 37.8%
- 2018 – 36.6%
- 2019 – 40.0%
- 2020 – 28.3%
It’s not that he was burying the ball into the ground. Instead Conforto was peppering line drives (30.3% line drive rate) all over the field (28.3% Oppo%). He added 12 doubles and with his average home run going 403 feet, it’s easy to envision things rebounding a bit.
Will he suddenly become a 40+ HR slugger? It’s not likely, but it also isn’t hard to envision a 30 HR campaign once again in his future with just a few more flyballs.
In regards to his average, obviously it will be hard for him to maintain this type of gaudy number. He benefited from an unsustainable .412 BABIP, a mark that is sure to regress.
That said his willingness to use the entire field and a strong approach (10.6% SwStr%, 27.7% O-Swing%) is a strong combination. The fact that he already saw minimal fastballs (52.90% hard pitches in ’20) and continued to make contact is promising. In fact no type of pitch really gave him significant issues (Whiff%):
- Hard – 8.52%
- Breaking – 13.15%
- Offspeed – 17.33%
With his power, that makeup profiles as a .275+ hitter. Hitting in the middle of the Mets’ lineup, which should be improved by the time the 2021 season starts, there will also be ample opportunity for both R and RBI. Is he a Top 20 player? That’s not likely, but a .275/30/90/90 player has significant value and he easily could produce like a Top 40-50 option. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking him, as he brings a strong package to the table.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2021 rankings: