New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his short major league career, and all signs point to him becoming an important player to the Mets for years to come. Still, given the various injuries and performance issues he has had to overcome, it appears that Conforto could eventually be even better than what the Mets could have ever hoped him to be when he was first drafted.
Conforto began making a name for himself at Oregon State University, where he posted a .349 batting average with 13 home runs and a school record 76 RBI before posting batting averages of .328 and .345 during his sophomore and junior years, respectively. His performance in the College Baseball World Series during his sophomore season earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team, and he finished his junior year as the Pac-12 Baseball Player of the Year.
The Mets selected Conforto with the tenth pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, and after just one season in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut on July 24, 2015, finishing the season with a .270 batting average and nine home runs in 56 games. His two home runs in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series made him the first rookie in almost 20 years to accomplish the feat, and expectations were incredibly high following such an outstanding rookie campaign.
Unfortunately for the Mets, Conforto struggled mightily in 2016, hitting just .220 with 12 HRs across 109 games, and the team sent him down to the minor leagues during that season in an effort to help him rediscover his form. He seemed to have done just that last season, posting a .279 batting average with 27 HRs and 68 RBI while being named to the National League All-Star Team, but a shoulder injury forced him to miss most of the second half of the season, and he has gotten off to a slow start in 2018, hitting just .200 with 2 HRs entering play Friday.
When Conforto has been great, he has done more than enough to prove that he can develop into a franchise corner outfielder for a team in desperate need of roster stability after suffering through years of injuries and underperforming players. He has been subject to his own fair share of injuries and poor performances, but at just 25 years old, he still has several years to gain experience before reaching the age at which most great players enter the prime of their careers.
With Yoenis Cespedes on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor and Juan Lagares out for the season after undergoing surgery on his toe, the Mets have allowed Conforto to play every day, a role he hasn’t assumed since returning from his shoulder injury. Conforto has since rewarded the team for their confidence in him, collecting four hits and two RBI on Friday and bashing a two-run home run on Saturday while offering hope that he will only improve with more playing time and improve upon the form he showed during the first half of the 2017 season.
The New York Mets have every reason to be impressed with what Michael Conforto has done since joining the team nearly three seasons ago. He may not have reached the status as an elite player yet, but his potential for further success appears to be exponential, a welcoming sign for a team that could certainly use some offensive success.
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