The lowdown on FA OF Michael Conforto

November 9th, 2021

has spent the first seven years of his career under the bright lights of Citi Field, dealing with all of the scrutiny that comes with playing for the Mets. There have been some struggles along the way, including in 2021, but Conforto has made an All-Star team (2017), smacked 132 home runs and hit .333 with two homers in his only World Series appearance as a 22-year-old in 2015. With his time in New York having possibly come to an end, the 29-year-old should be an interesting option with plenty of potential in a relatively quiet free-agent market for outfielders.

Here’s what you need to know about Conforto:

FAST FACTS
Birthdate: March 1, 1993 (Age 29 in 2022)
Primary position: OF
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 215 lbs.
Bats/throws: Left/right
Place of birth: Seattle
School(s): Redmond (Wash.) HS; Oregon State
Drafted: 1st round (10th), 2014, by Mets
MLB debut: July 24, 2015
Qualifying offer: Received one; declined

THE NUMBERS
2021: .232/.344/.384 (101 OPS+), 14 HR, 0.9 WAR* in 125 G
Career: .255/.356/.468 (124 OPS+), 132 HR, 15.7 WAR in 757 G
*Per Baseball-Reference

STAT TO KNOW
Since 2017, Conforto's 308 walks rank ninth among outfielders (minimum 200 games). In the same player pool, his on-base percentage (.364) ranks 12th, he's hit the 15th-most home runs (111) and his 127 OPS+ is tied for 11th with Mitch Haniger.

QUESTION MARK
Between a strained hamstring and some uncharacteristic struggles at the plate, Conforto did not exactly soar into free agency on a high note. He was limited to 125 games in 2021, and his 101 OPS+ -- just a tick above average -- was by far his lowest since 2016. He did finish the season strong, however, batting .272/.372/.457 over the final two months.

His only significant injury may have cost him
The trajectory of Conforto's career might have been changed by a dislocated shoulder. Conforto seemed poised to become a permanent fixture in the Mets' lineup in 2017, hitting .279/.384/.555, amassing 27 home runs by the end of August and making his first career All-Star team. But on Aug. 24, Conforto suffered a freak injury, dislocating and tearing the posterior capsule in his left shoulder on a swing. The recovery took up the majority of his offseason, and he has since admitted he may not have been patient enough with his rehab process -- perhaps evidenced by how poorly his 2018 season started. His .216 first-half average seemed so out of character that the Mets even considered sending him back to Triple-A. While it didn't come to that, and he rebounded to hit .273 in the second half, it's hard not to consider where Conforto would have been without that setback.

He's made Little League World Series history
Former teammate Todd Frazier is perhaps the big leaguer best known for competing in the Little League World Series. But Conforto did, as well, appearing in the prestigious tournament with Redmond North Little League in 2004. He went to the College World Series in 2013, in his sophomore year at Oregon State. Two years after that, in 2015, Conforto was with the Mets when they won the National League pennant for the first time since 2000. While the end result wasn't what they'd hoped for -- New York fell to Kansas City in the World Series, 4-1 -- Conforto became just the third player (and first rookie) in baseball history to appear in all three tournaments, joining Ed Vosberg and Jason Varitek.

He has a unique athletic pedigree
Plenty of big leaguers were raised by athletes themselves -- just ask the Blue Jays, who field lineups with three second-generation players, the sons of incredibly successful Major Leaguers. Conforto's pedigree is much more unusual in baseball. While his father, Mike, was a linebacker at Penn State, his mother, Tracie, was an Olympic synchronized swimmer who took home two gold medals at the Los Angeles games in 1984 and a silver medal in Seoul in 1988.