New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has already become one of the franchise’s best home run hitters.
After the 2019 campaign, Conforto had 109 career home runs. The total put him in 12th place all-time in franchise history, one ahead of Jose Reyes. More importantly, he’s not all that far behind several others. It would take Conforto only 17 more home runs to climb up to 7th place.
The Mets and home runs haven’t gone together well. The franchise has traditionally depended on top-level pitching to win. This was the case in 1969 and to a lesser extent in 1986. Fortunately, their offense was much better in the 1980s, but not exactly a powerhouse of home run hitters aside from Darryl Strawberry—the franchise’s all-time leader.
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Conforto probably won’t reach or pass what Strawberry did. However, he is two seasons away from possibly reaching the top five.
If 2020 was normal—which it isn’t for any reason at all—we would be talking about how many more home runs are needed in 2021 to pass Kingman. Instead, we need to wonder whether or not he’ll even be around for two more full seasons. Don’t forget, Conforto is a free agent after 2021.
Already one of the best sluggers to call himself a Met, Conforto’s powerful rise has been quieter than most. The 2019 season was his first to feature 30 home runs. He ended the year with 33, helping to push his career total into triple-digits.
Conforto hasn’t become a predominant home run hitter in the league because of how few games he has played. The 2018 and 2019 seasons are his only full years. He got injured in 2017 and a year prior in 2016, he struggled so much he was sent down to the minors.
Since his 2016 struggles, even when he hasn’t hit regularly, home runs have been a part of his game. They’re not at the same level as Pete Alonso. But with a career average of 31 per 162 games, it’s a rather high number especially for someone who hit them all with the Mets.
In terms of slugging percentage, Conforto wrapped up 2019 in eighth place. This put him three points ahead of Cliff Floyd and ten behind David Wright. Although he doesn’t come across as a doubles machine, Conforto has hit just as many two-baggers as he has home runs: 109.
Slowly but surely, Conforto has climbed the ranks of the Mets record books. He’s not causing Jay Horwitz to rewrite anything (for some reason I assume Horwitz is the one who handwrites all of the records) but he is adding his name among the greats.
The end result of Conforto’s tenure in New York may have a lot to do with whether or not he stays with the team beyond 2021. An exit would mean he falls into the category of guys who didn’t stick around long enough to truly put up some notable numbers.
On the other hand, a longer stay in Flushing could help put him in a more elite company.
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Conforto’s right there with some of the best sluggers in Mets baseball. Because he hasn’t led the league in the category or done so in flashy fashion, it has gone mostly overlooked. Compared to others who have called Shea Stadium and Citi Field home, he’s one of the best home run hitters we have ever seen.