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Monday, May 7, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: MICHAEL CONFORTO OUTFIELDER NEW YORK METS

Like pretty much everything else that has gone wrong of late for the New York Mets, add the continued struggles of outfielder Michael Conforto to the list of a season that has now gone completely off the rails.  Considered one of the bright young stars of today's game, Conforto was coming off a spectacular 2017 breakout that saw him hit 27 home runs, drive in 68, and bat .270 at just the age of 24.  Unfortunately, Conforto was not able to reach the 30-home run mark that was almost a given at his established pace due to suffering a very serious shoulder dislocation on a swing of all things that required season-ending surgery.  There was doubt that Conforto would even be able to return at all in April of 2018 given the invasive nature of the surgery and so his stock fell precipitously in drafts.  Miraculously though, Conforto made such rapid progress that he was back in a Mets uniform nearly at the start of the season after a very short spring training preparation period.  With Conforto having hit for power during his rehab and during his first few games back, all seemed well as his fantasy baseball owners took a bow for their gamble.

Fast forward to present day and Conforto has been a massive bust to this point.  With manager Mickey Callaway resorting to giving Conforto the entire past weekend off in order to get his head clear, his numbers going into Monday's action looked like this:

.184
1 HR
13 R
6 RBI
1 SB
29.2 K/9
18.8 BB/9
.271 BABIP

When one takes a closer look at the above numbers, a few things immediately get our attention.  What lends some optimism is the fact that despite his hitting drought, Conforto is drawing a high amount of walks as shown by his spectacular 18.8 BB/9.  On the flip side though, his strikeout rate has shot up to nearly 30 percent which is a big problem.  In terms of those strikeouts, it is obvious that the lack of a full spring training is a major reason for the failure there and when you take into account the fact Conforto is so young and in need of such annual seasoning before the games count, it is only fair to give him a bit of a pass there.  Add in a bit of an unlucky BABIP at .271 and it becomes clear that Conforto is simply in an extended rut blamed on the lack of a spring training and some bad luck on the batted ball.  Yes, Conforto has not helped himself with the strikeouts but that goes to the lack of some spring preparation as young hitters tend to press and get overaggressive when things go awry.  So in essence, buying low on Conforto is not a bad idea in the least and as we saw last season, his power is of the 30-home run variety when he does get on track. 

UPDATE:  Conforto went out and cracked a leadoff home run Monday night to further drive home the buy low angle.  

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