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2015 Mets season review: Michael Conforto

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The rookie outfielder gave the struggling New York offense a big lift.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Back in late July, Mets fans were desperate for their team to improve on offense. In the seven games following the All-Star break, New York scored more than two runs just twice—and one of those was an 18-inning affair. If Sandy Alderson didn't do something, the club was in danger of floundering despite its incredible pitching staff.

On July 24, the front office finally took action. It traded a pair of pitching prospects to Atlanta in exchange for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. Even more exciting, top outfield prospect Michael Conforto was called up to the big leagues.

In his first game, the rookie out of Oregon State went 0-for-3 with an RBI in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers. The next day, Conforto collected the first four hits of his career and reached base five times in a 15-2 drubbing of Los Angeles. It counted as just one win, but that game symbolized what the Mets were capable of with their new lineup upgrades.

Although the Mets made sure they protected Conforto by batting him towards the bottom of the order and sitting him against tough lefties, his 134 wRC+ in 194 regular season plate appearances is still impressive for a 22-year-old in his first major league action. During his three months with the Mets, Conforto proved to be the polished slugger the team hoped it was getting when it selected him with the 10th pick in the 2014 amateur draft.

Not only did he provide promise for the future by hitting .270/.335/.506 with nine home runs and solid defense, but Conforto gave the present club just the kick in the butt that fans were clamoring for. Most analysts point to the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition as the move that turned around New York's season, but in reality the club improved due to a handful of moves, none more important than the promotion of Conforto.

After hitting .312/.396/.503 in 45 games of Double-A to start the year, you can forgive Mets fans for thinking the young slugger was in for a big league reality check. However, Conforto came close enough to those figures to become a dramatic improvement over Michael Cuddyer and the other players tasked with playing left field before the phenom's arrival.

In the postseason, Conforto batted just .160 with a .207 on-base percentage, but he slugged .520 thanks to a home run in Game 2 of the NLDS and two more in World Series Game 6. None of those blasts are particularly memorable because the Mets lost both games, but they are a sign than Conforto is developing the type of power that can turn him into an impact bat for many years to come.

After such a promising rookie campaign, Mets fans are looking forward to Conforto further cementing himself as an everyday player and improving against left-handed pitching in 2016.