Mets: An awesome second half from Michael Conforto carries little weight
By Tim Boyle
Another excellent second-half performance from New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto in 2019 will carry little weight.
In 2018, New York Mets fans were grasping for straws in the second half to find anything good. One of the positive stories from the final months of the season involved how well Michael Conforto played. He finished the year with a second-half batting line of .273/.356/.539 after hitting .216/.344/.366 before the All-Star Break.
Last year, Conforto was particularly good in September. It’s a month when you want the most from your top players. Unfortunately, Conforto will once again play meaningless games in the final month of the season. Any success he has will have little meaning in restoring much faith in his abilities.
Every year for Conforto seems to go the same way. He’s a streaky hitter who for one month looks like a star and the next appears like a guy wasting his talents. Each month in 2019 has included a decline in each number from his splits. The biggest change this year was how his OBP from the first month was at a spectacular .403. In June, Conforto reached base at a clip 100 points lower, finishing the unproductive month with a .303 OBP.
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Getting on base regularly is one of the best things Conforto does. When he’s not doing this, Conforto is a power hitter who without much else to offer.
A strong second half from Conforto would be a nice thing to see, but what does it say about him? In what will hopefully become just his second full season in Major League Baseball, a strong finish from Scooter arrives too late to have much meaning.
Conforto wrapped up 2018 strong with many believing his early struggles had to do with rushing back from injury. Well, this year doesn’t have the same excuse. Unless his back injury has lingered for weeks, there’s no justification.
Conforto is, however, on pace to put up very similar numbers from last year. He’s likely to finish with a much higher slugging percentage thanks to far more doubles than we’re used to seeing. Still, it feels like a weaker than expected season. When compared to some of his teammates, Conforto is indeed lacking luster.
For many, this was the year Conforto was supposed to enter the MVP discussion. It hasn’t happened. Rookie Pete Alonso has been the team’s slugger with Jeff McNeil also contributing in amazing ways. Only because Conforto has had so many at-bats with season-long slumper Robinson Cano hitting in front of him, we haven’t paid much attention to how poorly he has performed, too.
Conforto isn’t having a bad year, but he also isn’t having an improved one. A strong second half would raise his numbers above last season’s totals. What good does it do?
We’ve been waiting since 2016 for Conforto to carry the Mets. He did a phenomenal job in 2017 until his season-ending injury. Of course, this was another year when the team was playing poorly and his positive production didn’t do much to help the team in the standings. How the team ultimately performs is out of his control. With a limited number of plate appearances per game, he can only do so much.
A stellar finish from Conforto only gives what we have seen before—hope. We came into 2019 hoping Conforto would put together a career-year, which he still may.
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At this point, we have to stop hoping for the best and actually see it. Conforto is no longer a kid. He’s someone this team is counting on to carry them through the entire year. An average first half from him is, unfortunately, not good enough. An above-average second half is just a topping in a year where we wanted so much more.