Michael Conforto has potential as he's exhibited solid plate skills in the minors with extra-base power. However, these have yet to translate to the major league level, in large part due serious deficiencies against lefty pitching. After a strong April (1.118 OPS), Conforto struggled the next two months (.519 OPS) was demoted in late June. He was recalled just after the All-Star break, hitting well initially but ultimately landing back at Triple-A Las Vegas in August. There was some hope that Conforto's early scuffles were a result of a sore wrist but his failure to produce in his second big league stint suggested otherwise. He returned for the final month, hitting a meek .236 in 38 at-bats with one homer. It doesn't help that Las Vegas is one of the best hitting environments in the minors, artificially boosting numbers, and expectations. Conforto's 2017 role is unclear, but he'll try to win a job in the outfield or first base this spring.
Conforto went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run, his third long ball of the spring, in Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Braves. The 24-year-old's path to a spot on the big league roster seems to be getting clearer with Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) still not back in action and Juan Lagares (oblique) getting hurt as well Saturday. However, the Mets have said consistently this spring they'd like to see Conforto get regular at-bats, something that wouldn't happen even as the fourth outfielder in the majors. With the team running out of healthy outfielders, though, the sweet-swinging lefty's development may have to wait.
Conforto will likely get some starts in center field in the coming days, Newsday's Marc Carig reports. This seemed inevitable, given the fact that the Mets' best four outfielders are all naturally corner guys, so they will have to sacrifice defense at times in order to get their best hitters as many at-bats as possible. Conforto might be the team's second best offensive outfielder in terms of pure talent (behind Yoenis Cespedes), but it's really hard to project how much playing time he will see while Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce remain in the fold.
Conforto went 2-for-3 in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals. He's now 7-for-13 to begin his spring but, perhaps more importantly, three of those hits have come against left-handed pitchers, including Wednesday's opposite-field single off Brett Cecil. Conforto's still likely ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the season due to the Mets' crowded outfield, but his value in keeper or dynasty leagues remains very high.
Conforto went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored during Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Tigers. The homer, his second of the spring already, came off lefty Daniel Stumpf, an encouraging sign for Conforto given his struggles in the majors against same-side pitching. The 23-year-old needs a big training camp to keep from beginning the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, and while it's still extremely early, so far he's more than delivering.
Conforto went 2-for-3 with a solo home run off left-hander Henry Owens in Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the Red Sox. The 23-year-old will need a big spring to avoid beginning the regular season back at Triple-A, but launching a homer off a lefty is a great way to get the front office's attention. Conforto has hit just .129/.191/.145 in 62 big league at-bats against same-side pitching, so improvement in that area will be crucial not just for his 2017 fantasy value, but for his overall future career prospects.