New York Mets: 5 reasons for 2019 optimism – Part 1 Young Stars

Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, New York Mets. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, New York Mets. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Michael Conforto, New York Mets. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Michael Conforto

2018 was the downside of Conforto’s one step up, one step back, career. He had career highs in home runs (28), and RBI (84), but many of his key stats dropped including batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. He struggled at the plate, striking out a whopping 159 times.

Last August I chatted with former Kansas City Royals manager Tom Gamboa, who managed Conforto as well as Amed Rosario with the Brooklyn Cyclones when he was in the Mets Organization. He thinks that the best is yet to come for the former 10th overall draft pick of 2014.

“Michael has unlimited ability to hit for average and power for many years to come,” he said. “The high strikeouts and low average lead me to believe he has been trying to pull the ball too much. He showed his true skills in 2017 and I have no doubt he will return to those numbers next year.”

I agree. Last year’s team was a high risk/reward proposition at the plate and the budding slugger fit right in. Conforto has the ability to be the left-handed version of David Wright. A gap to gap hitter with power. No doubt, having Wright back in the organization can greatly help Conforto elevate his game. He may not be a 30 homer, 100 RBI, .300 batter, but he can come close.

The Oregon State University alumni is a smart kid and learned from last season’s debacle. As Gamboa said, Conforto is more like the .279/.384/.555 slash line player of 2017. The addition of Robinson Cano to the lineup will help him as well. Conforto should see better pitches to hit. He won’t need to go fishing like he did last year.