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New York Mets: Could the real Michael Conforto please stand up?

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 04: Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets advances to third base on Jeff McNeil #68 single in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 4, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 04: Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets advances to third base on Jeff McNeil #68 single in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 4, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Now in his fifth MLB season, it’s still unclear who the real Michael Conforto is. What can we truly expect from the New York Mets outfielder moving forward?

We’ve seen more Michael Conforto plate appearances than ever before in 2018. The New York Mets outfielder hasn’t been nearly as bad as he was in 2016, but he also has taken a major dip from his All-Star campaign in 2017.

Conforto has been closer to somewhere in the middle this year. His power numbers and OBP have been good while his batting average and consistency have not.

When Conforto was promoted to the Mets in 2015, we saw him step up to the plate almost 200 times in the regular season. The .270/.335/.506 batting line posted in his brief rookie season included 9 home runs and 26 RBI. Conforto established himself early on as a run producer.

The next year, we saw a lot of those great things he did in 2015 disappear.

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In his 348 plate appearances in 2016, Conforto batting a career-low .220/.310/.414 with only 12 home runs. He bounced back in a big way in 2017, slashing .279/.384/.555 over 440 opportunities. The power numbers surged, with Conforto finishing the season at 27 home runs and 68 RBI.

After 474 plate appearances in 2018, Conforto is batting .235/.348/.405 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI. He’s still drawing walks, but not coming up with hits nearly as often as he did last year. It’s far from the ideal version of Conforto Mets fans wanted, but it may be the real one that we’ll get each year.

Conforto continues to do a good job at getting on base. When needed, he’s there to smash a four-base hit.

Perhaps his most underappreciated contribution this year is Conforto’s ability to fill in as the team’s center fielder. The Mets opened the year with him in this spot despite Conforto profiling better in a corner position. Though he’s still a negative defender up the middle, there’s no denying he has helped this by not being a complete disaster.

It’s hard to know what Conforto really is. We’ve seen the lows, the highs, and the somewhere in-betweens. Surely a big league player, he’s likely a guy who will never hit for a high batting average but may always make up for it by drawing walks. His power is for real yet not consistent enough for him to win any home run titles.

Next year should give us a clearer picture of the true Conforto. He’ll be more than 400 games into his big league career which is a good enough gauge.

Next. Best first-round draft picks in Mets history

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Until then, we’ll see the ups and downs of Scooter. Hopefully, it’s more of the former going forward.

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