New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto had a pretty dreadful first half of the 2018 season. After a freak injury led to offseason shoulder surgery, Conforto anticipated an early May return. However, the Mets decided it was best for the team to rush him back to the big leagues.
The Early Struggles
Conforto joined the club in Washington on April 5th. In his first game back, Conforto poked an opposite field homer, but aside from that he struggled early on. He was performing so poorly, that at one point the Mets considered demoting him to Triple-A.
Conforto was really pressing as he looked very lost at the plate. His sweet power stroke was also clearly missing in action. Over the first half of the season, he struck out 86 time and hit a disappointing .216/.344/.366 with just 11 home runs, 30 RBI, and 86 strikeouts.
The Resurgent Finish
The real Michael Conforto finally stood up following the All Star Break. On August 22, the former first round pick was hitting .288 with seven home runs, 21 RBI, and seven doubles in 31 games since the break.
He finished the 2018 season with his best month of the year. In 28 games during September, Conforto hit .286/.365/.616 with 13 walks, eight doubles, nine home runs, 29 RBI, and a 981 OPS, numbers that were up there with National League MVP Christian Yelich.
In total, Conforto finished that season hitting .243/.350/.448, and setting career highs with 25 doubles, 28 home runs, 84 walks, and 82 RBI.
What’s Next for Conforto?
Heading into 2019, Conforto is being viewed by many as a dark horse for the National League MVP. These talks are definitely justified. The sweet swinging lefty was a completely different player from the first half of the season to the second half. His power and opposite field stroke came back to him, building his confidence back more and more.
If they have an intentions of contending, the Mets are going to need a huge year from Conforto. They are going to need him, Robinson Cano, Peter Alonso, and Wilson Ramos to be the guys in the middle of the order. Using this newfound confidence and his resurgent finish, Conforto can definitely be the guy.
He is in for a breakout 2019 season, and will return to his pre-injury All-Star form. I expect MVP-type numbers from the kid. Conforto certainly has 30 doubles and 30 homer potential. Mets fans should fully expect him to go back to solidifying himself as one of the top young outfielders in the game today.