Michael Conforto: A Walk-Year That Needs To Turn Into A Run

Michael Conforto: Mets Free-Agent To Be

Michael Conforto hit a three-run home run today to break an 0-9 and 1-23 streak. As a free-agent to be, everything rides on his second half. 

Michael Conforto‘s 2021 season has yet to get off the ground. Limited to only 51 of the Mets 80+ games, his return to the lineup has Conforto what happened to his timing and why he’s having trouble “reading” pitches.

This is not unusual for players who haven’t seen live major league pitching for a while, and it’s only of late that Jeff McNeil is starting to look like himself again. Still, for Conforto, there’s another layer that adds an additional source of stress.

What had been a popular discussion involving Michael Conforto has turned silent, and it is likely the Mets will continue to refrain from entertaining a contract extension for their popular right-fielder until after the World Series.

Mets player rep Michael Conforto
Mets player rep Michael Conforto

With Scott Boras as his agent, together with his success in having his clients wait it out while he plays teams against each other, it was always a long shot that Michael Conforto would not test the waters in the 2022 free-agent market.

A quick scan of Spotac’s Class of 2022 for right-fielders shows that Boras indeed may have the best interests of Michael Conforto in mind.

2022 Free-Agent Right Fielders
2022 Free-Agent Right Fielders

Michael Conforto In A Good Spot

With Michael Conforto entering the market at 29, both Charlie Blackmon and Dexter Fowler (at 36), except for Nick Castellanos, who is having a career year and likely to attract considerable attention, Conforto should have the “field” to himself.

Still, with Mets having been stung once in shelling out $300+ million to Francisco Lindor based on past accomplishments, Conforto may find himself swimming upstream – unless he can produce a second-half that says otherwise.

A .195 BA, two home runs, 16 RBI, a woeful .277 SLG, and a 77 OPS+ that says 23% of all major league players are better than him; it’s an uphill battle facing Michael Conforto. We know the power is there…

With only 159 at-bats (before today), Conforto can raise that batting average considerably in a couple of games (Luke Voit, with seven hits in two games, went from .198 to .258 this week). Still, it’s the power numbers that count for a number three-hitter in the Mets or, potentially, any team’s lineup.

The relief that showed on Conforto’s face with today’s drive into the Mets’ bullpen was palpable, and with four days off at the All-Star Break, he has an opportunity to carry that feeling forward.

Michael Conforto: What Happens Next Is Everything

It’s always a matter of confidence when a player of Michael Conforto’s caliber is looking for what he once had, and when coming to the ballpark was a joyous experience, and he knew – just knew – there were a couple of key hits in store for him and the Mets.

The kicker, if you noticed in the above table, is Conforto’s expected market value, which is pegged by Spotrac at just under $25 million per year.

Commanding that salary would bring Conforto into the upper echelon and ten percent of the highest salaries in the major leagues.

Even Steve Cohen doesn’t sign checks of that magnitude unless they are warranted.

Careerwise, Michael Conforto is in fairly good standing with 120 home runs over seven seasons, a .827 OPS that put him more than 100 points over the MLB average this year (.712), and an OPS+ of 124, making him “better” than 24% of his peers.

But if we know anything about the business of baseball, what you did yesterday means nothing.

But just as surely, if Michael Conforto wants a shot at big-time money, he must step it considerably in the second half…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Jesse Myers The first half is forgotten if he comes up big in the next 3 or 4 months

Closing Comments And Final Thoughts

Lots of likes but it looks like Mets fans are taking the All-Star break for real as far as comments. Thus, we’ll close published comments now.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.