Oh dear! Michael Conforto picked the wrong time to have an all-time career-worst campaign. The New York Mets starting right fielder is having a season so bad it makes his 2016 season look productive.
The first half ended with Conforto playing in 52 games and a nice OCD-pleasing 200 plate appearances. In those two centuries of plate appearances, Conforto slashed .202/.345/.301. It’s never a good sign when a player has a higher OBP than slugging percentage.
Not much has gone right for the soon-to-be-free agent. Other than still being able to consistently draw walks, the year has been a complete and utter bust for the man we used to think HAD to be extended. Now, Mets fans are torn.
For the sake of the Mets, Michael Conforto needs to figure things out
The Mets cannot have a right fielder they expected to pop home runs regularly and hit around .250 at the minimum to continue playing this way. Thinking in the short term, and not just about his future, this is essential for the club’s success.
Conforto was and has been for several seasons, glue to the lineup. Whether he hit third or fourth, the team tended to go the same direction as him. Excellent in wins and not so much in losses, Conforto has been vital to the organization.
The Mets have been fortunate to play well without him for a good portion of the year. It’s not necessarily because his replacements lit the league on fire. Their patchwork right fielders did help them win games, but none grabbed the bull by the horns. Because of this, it’s impossible to simply sit Conforto in favor of someone else. The team’s offense still has weak points. Getting Conforto right is prerogative number one.
The approaching trade deadline does offer opportunities to bring in a new name to potentially take over a few starts in right field. Expecting a big addition is a little too ambitious. A multi-positional guy or even someone that could push others into right field (Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis for example) every so often could be the way to go.
This might solve the issue in right field. It doesn’t fix Conforto.
This All-Star Break couldn’t have come at a better time. Conforto did knock a dinger in the last game of the first half; just the third of his season. I question whether he was ever fully healthy enough to return when he did. It’s difficult to explain otherwise as to why he has had such a miserable year.
Surviving without Conforto’s powerful left-handed bat smack dab in the middle of the starting lineup is possible. But it’s going to take more production from everyone else.
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First half slumps were a massive problem for the Mets offense this year. Getting by without Conforto is doable only if everyone else is doing their part. Thus far, many of the hitters have not.