Stud Conforto now an All-Star

I’m a bit shocked that Michael Conforto, 24-year-old Mets outfielder, was actually named to this year’s MLB All-Star Game. Too many times do deserved candidates go overlooked. (Uhm… how about Dodgers’ shortstop Cory Seager?) Conforto’s story is going to be played up in the New York area through the all-star weekend festivities; rightfully so, it’s one worth telling. When he was called up for the first time on July 24, 2015, he impressed right away with a slash line in a mere 56 games to finish the season off of .270/.335/.506. For a rookie, those stats are eye-popping.

He continued his poised approach throughout the postseason that year, which included this World Series performance:

So naturally, headed into his first full major-league season, the thought was he’d develop even further. I too was part of that camp, actually ever since New York called him up I said over and over again Conforto is going to be a stud for years to come. When he dipped in his overall play in 2016, I began to wonder if it was simply MLB pitchers had finally adjusted to him and he was struggling to do the same. His lesser production made me draw a keen eye toward what was going on with him. 

What I saw was a hole in his swing form where he’d be far less patient with his plate discipline and his swing gained the habit of an uppercut hitch that affected his follow through. In turn, he’d pop up more baseballs and hack others into groundouts. It also caused his strikeout total to double and slash line to sink to .220/.310/.414. Gone were line-drive gap shots for doubles and all-field power for big flys.  His inevitable demotion came June 25, 2016, eventually returning July 17. It looks as if, with a year of perspective, being sent down helped Conforto refocus.

This year he broke camp with the team. A success. He’s been one of the few lone bright spots for the Mets, in a season they’d surely like to forget, with a career best slash line .285/.405/.548. His other numbers are climbing as well, which is a sign he’s finding consitency in the show. Conforto’s rise comes at a time when the Mets have to start looking to rebuild somewhat and shift their sights toward 2018 instead. Conforto’s all-star selection and his season so far will defintely help decision making in the offseason that much easier for GM Sandy Alderson.

No one quote can quantify a moment like this, so hear Conforto’s entire reaction to a special career accomplishment:

Congrats, Miggy Conforts (my nickname for him)! I’m sure it won’t be his last All-Star Game appearance.