The projections next to the player’s name are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projections systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 02/01/2019-03/12/2019. A healthy Michael Conforto spells trouble for the NL.
Michael Conforto, NYM (ADP 105): 614 PA, 80 R, 29 HR, 86 RBI, 4 SB, .251/.351/.476/.827
Conforto had a monster season in 2017, slashing .279/.384/.555/.939 with 27 HR in 109 games. His 13% walk rate was 21st in the league and he paired it with a manageable 25.7% strikeout rate. His OPS ranked 17th in the league among qualified hitters. Conforto was on pace to receive some MVP votes before suffering a serious shoulder injury. Unfortunately, the injury was so severe it was expected to cost him significant time in the 2018 season. Even worse, he rushed himself back from the injury and batted just .216 with 11 home runs in 85 first half games.
The second half was a completely different story for Conforto. Presumably healthy for the first time in nearly a year, he slashed .273/.356/.539/.895 with 17 home runs in just 68 games. His hard hit rate rose five points after the All Star break and his infield fly ball rate decreased by seven percent. Almost every meaningful stat improved in the second half. Those are the kind of number owners were expecting after his breakout 2017. The best news for me is that his first half OBP was still .344 meaning his plate skills weren’t suffering. Back-to-back seasons of 13% walk rates tell me that good plate skills are staple of his game, even when balls aren’t falling in for hits. That provides Conforto with a higher floor.
Heading into his age 26-season after a fully healthy offseason, Conforto is going in the same ADP range that he was before last year. Maybe owners feel burned by his first half last year. Some may feel his pitcher friendly home park will tamp down his homers. Maybe they think he’s an injury risk. I’m not among the owners with any concerns about Conforto. I’m buying anywhere I can, especially in dynasty leagues. He’s primed for a monster, MVP candidate season if he’s able to stay healthy. He improved his numbers against left-handed pitching while he was going through a severe shoulder injury. In 2017 he had a .729 OPS versus lefties but in 2018 he improved to an .803 OPS against southpaws. What if he’s able to put up his 2017 numbers with the gains versus lefties over a full season? Don’t dream on it just go draft him.