Bringing up Conforto now will help Mets better evaluate trade deadline needs

The focus in Mets-land has been on the team’s trio of young aces. And for good reason: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard have posted a combined 5.1 fWAR, 3.05 ERA, and 5.45 strikeouts-to-walks ratio this season.

With the New York Mets’ below-average offense (ranks 20th with a 7.2 fWAR) incapable of providing necessary run support, however, even the most dominant of pitching efforts haven’t consistently resulted in wins.

Needless to say, adding a bat or two at the July 31st trade deadline is a must for the Mets. But the front office could better evaluate the extent of their offensive needs by calling up top prospect Michael Conforto now.

After an exciting rookie-ball debut in 2014, the 22-year-old hasn’t stopped hitting this season. Conforto, promoted to Double-A in late-May, has combined for a .308 batting average, 10.7 percent walk rate, and nine home runs over 289 plate appearances in 2015.

In addition, the left-handed hitter has demolished Double-A pitchers to the tune of a .377 batting average and park-adjusted 217 wRC+.

Yet, his success isn’t particularly surprising.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law (insider-subscription needed) praised the Mets’ 2014 first-round pick in his pre-season Top 100 prospect rankings, calling Conforto the “best pure college hitter in the 2014 draft class […]” and tabbed him at #41 on his list.

Later that month, Law even took a swipe at the Mets in his April 30th ‘Chat with Keith Law,’ remarking that the team has been “too conservative with their more polished prospects and [that] Conforto should be in [Double-A] already.”

Even though it’s a pretty rare feat for a player to make the jump from Double-A, it’s been done before. For instance, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Yasiel Puig from Double-A to the majors on June 2, 2013. The then-22-year-old Puig had only collected 167 plate appearances in the upper-minors prior to his promotion.

Batting close to .400 in the upper-minors hardly guarantees Conforto will become an instant star in the majors. But the Mets shouldn’t put such expectations on his shoulders if they do decide to promote him soon.

If Conforto could produce at a league-average or slightly above-league average rate, it would rightfully force the Mets to platoon Curtis Granderson with Michael Cuddyer. Any success at the major-league level would also take some pressure off David Wright returning too soon.

In the event Conforto is over-matched in the proposed month-long audition, then the Mets can simply demote the future stud to Triple-A – perhaps recalling him again in September. No harm done.

But there’s always a chance Conforto does his best Yasiel Puig impression; affording the Mets the luxury of not having to dangle one of Steven Matz or Syndergaard in what could turn out to be a regrettable summer trade.

Statistics (through June 20, 2015) sourced from FanGraphs.

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12 responses to “Bringing up Conforto now will help Mets better evaluate trade deadline needs

  1. Confoto will not see the show for at least another year because the Mets go in slow motion, keeping most down on the farm to age 24 or 25. The front office is more worried about years of control over getting the team over the hump. Plus, They’re never going to admit mistakes, therefore Cuddyer and Granderson are locked into their spots, no matter what. It’s salary that dictates who plays, not talent. Look how long Chris Young started and did nothing for the team. Granderson is a close second in that dept and Cuddyer isn’t far behind. What can you expect from a 36 yr old?

    Suffice it to say, whatever the team does, as long as Collins is the mgr, they are going nowhere. He’s the main factor for their losing, yet Alderson doesn’t seem to notice.

    • I don’t disagree. But I think the greater example of “admitting mistakes” would be trading for outside-the-org talent — not promoting from within. The fact of the matter is that almost 44% of the team’s payroll is paid out to David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Cuddyer in 2015. And what do the Mets have to show for it?

      So if it’s mostly a money issue, then promote the guy making league minimum. ::sighs::

  2. Who do you think the mets will really sit for him? Cuddyer? Do you really think they’ll sit Granderson? Are they going to move Cuddyer to third?

    The point is that your request requires the Mets not only to go off road by promoting Conforto so early, but then to either bench a highly paid player, even more distinctly not Wilpon-like, or move an outfielder to third base, something they will also be loathe to do.

    • Granderson is hitting .162 and a 11 wRC+ against LHP this season. He needs to be platooned…with Cuddyer. Cuddyer owns a career .290 BA and 131 wRC+ vs. LHP. It’s Sandy’s fault he signed both players for far too much money. Together, they make for a solid platoon. But they shouldn’t be full-time players.

      And Conforto will be making league minimum. They’re paying Granderson/Cuddyer regardless, so they might as well see what Conforto has to offer.

      • You reply to john as if it came from someone ignorant enough not to know what you already stated. What you fail to see in his message is this; hes eluding to the idea that the mets WILL NOT in any way platoon, bench or trade/release either of those bafoons; as well as they wont move Cuddyer to 3B Yes, they both should be platooned, in fact, I would venture to guess that even that idea isnt likely a positive solution, as I believe both of them suck too much to actually produce their past production (based on what Ive seen and my gut feeling)

        so that leaves us with the reality (and much more likely scenario) that, not only will the mets not promote Conforto to the mets, but they wont even consider the idea of platooning one of the aforementioned bafoons.

        It doesnt matter but at least I can hang my hat on the following

        In Jason bay, Cuddyer, Granderson as well as Oliver Perez…all of those were guys I said the mets should not sign, and that they will regret it. Its funny how some no name from brooklyn, is more capable of predicting failure of players, than those who have (close to) twice his age in experience, and at the highest level possible no less. So freakin sad!

      • Since taking over in October 2010, Sandy has subtracted the following “big” contracts:
        -Luis Castillo (released, 2011)
        -Oliver Perez (released, 2011)
        -Francisco Rodriguez (traded, 2011)
        -D.J. Carrasco (released, 2012)
        -Jason Bay (released, 2012)
        -Brandon Lyon (released, 2013)
        -Shaun Marcum (released, 2013)
        -Chris Young (released, 2014)

        The difference here is that Grandy/Cuddyer would still be active members of the team, but simply in lesser roles. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

        Also, I never suggested Cuddyer should play 3B…

  3. Your words to Gods ears.

  4. I think you are missing the point of what the other people are saying. Yes, Grandy and Cuddyer *deserve* to be benched, but Sandy is paying them too much money (in his mind) to bench them. It’s a money issue, yes, but not in the sense that they can’t afford to bring in outside talent. It doesn’t matter that Conforto would be paid the minimum – it matters that Grandy and Cuddyer are getting paid a ton and to bench them would be for Sandy to admit they were both bad signings, which the Mets have historically not done.

    I agree with you that Conforto should be brought up and a Grandy/Cuddyer platoon makes sense, but the Mets have never been willing to go to something like that before, so why would they now?

    • Well, I think it’s a money issue both ways. I don’t think they have the money to bring someone else in AND I also don’t think he’d bench Grandy/Cuddyer because of the insane money he committed to them.

      That being said, calling up Conforto should be seen as a compromise, of sorts. He, unlike Grandy or Cuddyer, is the future of this franchise. His [eventual] success is a lynchpin in the success of the organization. And he’s also making peanuts. Essentially, Sandy isn’t going to find a better excuse to admit failure/not spend money than by promoting Conforto.

      Would anyone complain if Conforto is called up and does well?

  5. Pingback: Mentioning Conforto Now Will Assist Mets Higher Consider Commerce Deadline Wants | Ten Sports Club

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