New York Mets prospect Michael Conforto has gotten off to a blazing start this season, slugging his fourth home run of the year yesterday, and going 3-for-5 with a walk on the day. He has shown through the first 11 games of the year that he doesn’t belong in Advanced-A, and should probably be playing in Double-A already. He now has 4 homers and 13 RBI in 11 games, with more walks than strikeouts. It took him 163 at bats last year in short season ball to hit 3 home runs, and hes already topped that mark in 41 at bats, per milb.com.
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The 22-year old was drafted 10th overall by the Mets in last years draft, making 2015 his first full season in professional baseball. He was a prolific hitter with Oregon State University, and he has done nothing to suggest his game won’t translate to the pros. The lower Minors does not seem to be challenging Conforto much, and I would expect a call-up to Double-A before long.
Appearing at #81 on MLB.com’s 2015 prospect rankings, I would expect him to jump up into the top 50 by next off-season. The Mets are in a pretty good place right now, given their current success and young guys like Conforto and Noah Syndergaard on the way. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud looked like he was bound for a breakout season until getting injured yesterday, but he was replaced by top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki.
The former Beaver is best known for his bat, appearing to be a guy who could hit around .300 and hit 20+ plus homers. As impressively, he loves taking walks, which is sure to lead to high on base averages throughout his career. The negatives with his game is that he isn’t a phenomenal athlete, as he won’t steal many bases for you. His defense and throwing arm isn’t anything to write home about either, so he will likely be tied to left field only. Of course, if he can hit for a high contact rate with power, the team will be fine with that.
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The Mets have no reason to rush the 6 foot 1, 211 pounder, but he may hit himself out of St Lucie before long. I wouldn’t be surprised if Conforto hits well enough this season to position himself to make his Major League debut in 2016. If he can continue to rake, we’ll be seeing him in Double-A. I wouldn’t even be shocked if he can make it up to Triple-A this season. Then again, just because he hasn’t struggled yet doesn’t mean that he won’t at some point. It’s easy to say that he’ll continue to hit well as he gets promoted, but struggles and injury risks are still a part of the game.
I would expect the slugging outfielder to be promoted before the All-Star break, especially if he continues his recent power tirade. Going up against some of the better pitchers in Double-A will be good for his development, even though this is still his first full year. The Mets clearly have a bright future ahead of them, with young pitchers and hitters alike. There may not be a more promising bat than Conforto, who looks like he could be a middle of the order back before long in New York. The NL East is believed to be the Nationals to lose, but with solid young teams in New York, Atlanta, and even Miami, it might be closer than people realize.