New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto is having an awesome year in 2020. Let’s examine what has made his 2020 campaign so terrific.
For so many years Conforto would start slow and then get hot at the end of the year when the team was slowly fading out of contention.
In 2020 Conforto has not only been the best Mets hitter but he has also been one of the best hitters in the National League. Conforto, through September 6th, is hitting .342/.434/.557/.991 with seven home runs and eleven doubles. He is just mashing the ball.
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Conforto is finally healthy and he is showing why there was so much hype surrounding him in 2015 when he joined the Mets for their World Series run.
The big question that remains is why 2020. What is Conforto doing in 2020 that is contributing to him having this monster season?
The most obvious answer is that Conforto is hitting much better against left-handed pitching and getting big hits in big spots. In 2019 Conforto hit .241 with 13 extra-base hits in 174 at-bats, but in 2020 Conforto so far has hit .298 with 7 extra-base hits in just 57 at-bats.
That is obviously a big improvement that has led to his breakout but there are more “periphery stats” that show he has really improved his game this year.
For starters, Conforto has significantly increased his line-drive percentage to 30.1% this year compared to 23.9% in 2019. Conforto is spreading the ball around the field and doing that by hitting more line drives instead of trying to hit the home run
This is correlated by his fly-ball rate dropping from 40% in 2019 to 30.1% this year in 2020 and even though his fly ball rate has gone down in 2020, his home run to fly ball ratio has stayed the same.
Additionally, Conforto is swinging at few pitches outside the strike zone, 27.3% in 2019 vs. 25.7% in 2020, and he is making more contact with pitches inside the strike zone, 81.8% in 2019 vs. 88.6% in 2020.
This leads to seeing better pitches at the plate and Conforto has taken advantage.
Lastly, as mentioned previously, Conforto is spreading the ball around the field more in 2020 by dropping his pull percentage and increasing his opposite field and center field percentages and he is hitting the ball harder than ever.
Conforto is setting himself up to garner some National League MVP votes and he is playing himself into a nice contract extension this winter.
More often than not the major stats like batting line and extra-base hits tells you that a player is having a good season, but the advanced periphery stats tell you why he is having a good season.
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If the Mets make the playoffs this year Michael Conforto will be a major contributor in getting them there.