Michael Conforto silencing doubters during breakout 2019 season
The potential has always been there for Michael Conforto, who has been a hot topic recently in the Twitterverse. Following his shoulder surgery in 2017, Conforto’s 2018 was anything less than special. It wasn’t until the second half of the season where there was a glimmer of hope.
Now, at 26, Conforto has proven just how valuable he can be. 2019 has been the year of the Alonso’s, McNeil’s and deGrom’s, but there should be a special mention for a man fighting his way back into the hearts of Mets fans.
Following his two-homer game against the Marlins this past Tuesday, one can’t help but marvel at the season Conforto is having. In 146 games, Conforto is slashing .255/.361/.494 with a career-high 33 home runs and 91 RBIs. He also has 82 walks. Why is that stat important? As a result of all those free passes, Conforto is only the fifth man in franchise history with 30 home runs, 90 RBIs and 80 BB in a single season, joining David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson.
Unlike the start of the 2018 season, Conforto was on fire to start the 2019 campaign. In 55 plate appearances, he was slashing 348/.455/.630. For you advanced stat lovers he ranked 18th in the majors with a 184 wRC+. While Conforto had moments where he struggled and the team relied on others to hit, Conforto would not back down. In his last seven games alone Conforto is hitting .273/.484/.727 with three home runs, nine RBIs and nine walks.
Who could forget his first career walk-off hit against the Nationals this summer? Not only was it a huge comeback against a division rival, but Conforto was able to (and continues to) silence doubters who have deemed him “unclutch” or have just dismissed him overall.
Yes, in some cases, Michael Conforto has not produced to the level many expected when he was drafted tenth overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. Maybe, just maybe, there are too many expectations for Conforto. In a season where the Mets are fighting to stay alive in September, it is Conforto who has been one of the most valuable members of the team.
While some are offering ideas to trade Conforto, an extension wouldn’t hurt the team. If he is just coming into his own, wouldn’t it be wise to take advantage and strike while the iron is hot? What did fans expect to see from Conforto coming into the 2019 season? Probably not what they got, which all things considered is a pretty solid threat to the rest of the National League.
With clutch hits coming from both sides of the plate, some solid defensive skills (that admittedly can be worked on) and a leading attitude to boot, Michael Conforto has shown, especially to the doubters, that he belongs on this young, promising team for the foreseeable future.
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