Can Michael Conforto salvage his season?

Whether you chalk it up to coming back from a serious shoulder injury or not having protection in the lineup with Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier injured, there’s no denying that Michael Conforto‘s performance through the first three and a half months of the season has been a major disappointment. The 25-year-old outfielder is batting .215 and has driven in just 26 runs thus far. And it’s not getting better as he’s batting .198 over his last 30 games and .146 over his last 15. Can he still salvage this season?

Two years ago when he struggled at the plate the Mets sent Conforto down to the minors to work out his swing. Last year, before a freak injury cut his season short, he looked like a star in the making, slashing .279/.384/.555 with 27 home runs in just 373 at bats. With three outfielders – Bruce, Cespedes and, oh yeah, remember Juan Lagares? – on the disabled list, and nobody worth mentioning in AAA, a demotion is not really an option this time.

At times, Conforto looks like he’s late on the ball and at times it looks like he’s having trouble squaring it up, missing or fouling off fat fastballs he should be crushing. On the positive side, he’s drawing walks at a career high rate and still has a solid .342 on base percentage. He also has 10 home runs. After time off for the All-Star break, Conforto should soon get some protection in the lineup again. Hitting between power hitters Cespedes, Bruce and Frazier will allow him to see more fastballs and strikes. If he can start making more solid contact, the hits will drop and his batting average will come up.

According to hitting coach Pat Roessler, Conforto is thisclose to regaining his swing. “We’re getting closer and closer and I really think he’s going to get back pretty soon,” he told the NY Post. Let’s hope he’s right because it would make the remainder of the season a little more watchable.

A solid last two months of the season will not only make the back of Conforto’s baseball card look a little better, but it will give the Mets coaches and front office reassurance that he can continue being part of the team in the seasons to come.

5 comments for “Can Michael Conforto salvage his season?

  1. Mike Walczak
    July 13, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I think it is part recovering from his injury and part in his head. Two years ago, when he was struggling, he looked lost. He was really lost on breaking pitches.

    He may also be one of those on year off year types of players.

  2. Pete In Iowa
    July 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I think his shoulder must be the problem. All season long, he has been late on most every swing. All the pundits keep saying how they think him going the other way is “a positive sign.” I think its a bad sign. He really needs to start pulling the ball with authority — something hardly seen from him at all this year. Just look at how he’s pitched. Sure, he’ll see his share off off-speed and breaking balls, but when they want to get him out it’s with the heater. He simply can’t catch up. Seeing more fastballs with “protection in the lineup” is not going to help.
    I don’t know whether the shoulder has robbed him of his bat speed, but it sure looks that way to me. It’s not like he hasn’t gotten enough at bats for his timing to still be off as I keep hearing/reading. Hopefully, the shoulder isn’t in his head. If it is the shoulder, he may never be the same.
    I really like him as a player, but I must admit, I am very concerned.

    • Chris F
      July 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      I think hes fighting the shoulder and his head. Hes not as much a “head case” as Matz, but he definitely gets lst in the tall grass and just gets dominated…its happened before, more than once, and so I dont think its his shoulder completely. But I agree PiI, there is cause for concern with MC.

    • TexasGusCC
      July 14, 2018 at 2:11 am

      He looked just fine when he pulled a fastball onto the upper deck in Philadelphia in the ninth inning to win a game. Conforto’s game is going the other way with power. If he pulls too much, that’s a bad sign.

      • Pete in Iowa
        July 15, 2018 at 10:02 am

        I certainly wouldn’t advocate that he become “pull happy,” and I agree there have been a few examples of him pulling with authority this season. But they have been few and far between. I think that’s a function of him not getting the bat into the hitting zone on time. For whatever reason.

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