Mets outfielder Michael Conforto becoming a more discipline hitter
By Tim Boyle
The 2019 version of New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto is much more discipline at the plate. In the first month of the season, he’s almost matching each of his strikeouts with a walk.
Through the early part of 2019, one area New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has improved greatly is in the plate discipline department. Even though it’s far too soon to fully assess, he is nearly equaling his walk to strikeout rate. The strikeouts may eventually leave the walks in the dust, but he is well on pace to walk more than ever before and cut down on seeing strike three.
After parts of five seasons, Conforto has averaged 77 walks and 151 strikeouts per 162 games. The walk numbers are certainly positive while the strikeouts are a little too plentiful. He did overtake those career averages last year when he walked a personal-best 84 times but followed it up with 159 strikeouts—just shy of David Wright’s Mets record.
Walking more and striking out less, Conforto is improving as an overall player. His ability to get on base has often been a strength in past seasons. However, putting the ball in play hasn’t.
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The situation seems to have changed for the better in month one of 2019. He owns an OBP above .400 and has a better average near his 2017 campaign when he hit .279 in 109 games. The “every other year” pattern where he plays best in odd-numbered seasons has continued. Those who believe this is Conforto’s year can rejoice; he’s playing well and closing down his weaknesses from past years.
Conforto has, by no means, put up MVP-quality numbers this year. His performance has been overshadowed by the early tear from teammate Pete Alonso. In fairness, Alonso has been one of the best offensive players this season. Many have still taken notice of how well Conforto has played. At the rate he’s playing, he’ll have a career year.
A drop-off is, of course, expected for anyone who gets off to an unusually productive start. The same way we should believe Noah Syndergaard will not finish the year with an ERA over 6.00, we can accept Conforto’s pace to change.
Will he slash .270/.400/.540 or something similar? He definitely can. And it’s a similar total he’s at right now.
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A key to numbers like these is his continued plate discipline. Fewer strikeouts and an abundance of walks will help him improve further as a player and grow into the superstar many believe lurks within.