While it may be hard for some to believe, Michael Conforto is entering his seventh season in the majors, in what will more than likely be a contract year for the left handed hitter. It has already been detailed on this website why the Mets should make a concerted effort to extend Conforto, so we will not beat that horse too much in this article. But if Sandy Alderson happens to be reading this, I know I speak for all Mets fans in saying “Extend Michael Conforto”.
Since Conforto arrived in Queens in July 2015, he has done nothing but hit. Conforto boasts an impressive career slashline of .259/.358/.484 along with a career 127 wRC+. The 2017 All-Star’s 2020 campaign was particularly impressive, even if it came in a pandemic induced shortened season. In 54 games played last year, Conforto slugged .515, the second highest mark of his career, and had an OPS+ of 156, while hitting 9 homers (which projects to 28 in a full season) and batting .322. Along with Dominic Smith, he was the most consistent hitter for the Mets all season long, as there was even MVP chatter surrounding Conforto, as well as Smith, at different points in the year.
And though he didn’t end up receiving any MVP votes, Conforto’s strong season and overall body of work was recognized this winter, when MLB Network named him the 34th best player in the majors, up from 78 the year before.
In right field, Conforto has also proven to be serviceable throughout his career, especially considering that was one of the knocks on him when he was called up from Double-A. In 2020, he posted 1 DRS, which was an improvement from his 2019 and 2018 marks, where he posted -4 and -6 DRS respectively. Conforto has also shown the ability to flash the leather and make a highlight reel play, like we saw last year against the Orioles.
This upcoming season, Conforto will be one of the best, and most powerful bats, in the Mets lineup. The offseason acquisition of Francisco Lindor and James McCann makes this lineup one of the deepest in the majors, and Conforto will be right in the middle of it, with the likes of Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Jeff McNeil.
Conforto projects to have a very good season, both by ZiPS and Steamer. ZiPS projects Conforto will hit ..264/.368/.475 with 3.3 fWAR, while Steamer projects similar numbers of .255/.363/.481 with 3.1 fWAR. If Conforto can match, or even exceed these projections, the Mets will be in a very good place as a team. Furthermore, it offers Conforto a chance to continue to establish himself as a top outfielder in the game, and earn a high paying contract from the Mets, or someone else this offseason.