Breakout or Bust: Has The Mets’ Michael Conforto Emerged As An Elite Option?

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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:

PositionDate Updated
Catcher--
First Baseman11/09/20
Second Baseman11/16/20
Third Baseman11/30/20
Shortstop12/07/20
Outfielder--
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--



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