michael conforto mets
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Michael Conforto had a strong second half for the New York Mets and was able to right the ship after a rough start to 2018.

Ricky Keeler

It was a rough start to the 2018 season for New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto as he was returning from shoulder surgery. Despite that rough start, the 25-year-old reached a career-high in home runs (28) and RBIs (82) and is looking like a player that the offense can center around next season.

Over the course of the second half, Conforto has been able to find consistency at the plate. He has a slash line of .275/.360/.552 with 15 doubles, 17 home runs, and 52 RBIs. He has nine more home runs than the second highest total on the New York Mets roster (Todd Frazier has eight).

While Conforto has been one of the best Mets in the second half, his success also stands out among the best players in the National League after the All-Star break. The 17 home runs are tied with Matt Carpenter for fifth in the NL and the only player with more RBIs than him is Christian Yelich (63), who is the likely favorite for MVP.

Another stat that has stood out about Conforto is his patience at the plate. In total, he has seen 1,140 pitches in the second half (seventh in the NL) and has averaged 4.03 pitches per plate appearance. He is on the verge of reaching at least that number of pitches in an at-bat for the third consecutive year.

The 156 strikeouts are still eye-popping for Conforto this year. With that being said, there is a clear difference for this team when he is playing well as opposed to the contrary. According to Baseball Reference, the outfielder is a .309 hitter when the Mets win and a .183 hitter when they lose (100 strikeouts).

If you look at the previous stat alone, that can make an MVP conversation in itself and it speaks to how much the Mets rely upon him and Brandon Nimmo for offensive production out of the outfield. His power bat is key to drive in the likes of Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil when they reach base at the top of the lineup.

While Mickey Callaway has used Conforto in a variety of different spots in the lineup this year, the number three spot is where he has had the most run production (29) and hit the second-most home runs (six).

Conforto’s season, as a whole, will be overshadowed when you look at the vast amount of talent in the outfield in the NL East — even if Bryce Harper decides to move on from baseball in Washington D.C. However, Conforto is on the verge of having back-to-back seasons of having at least a 3.0 WAR.

As the New York Mets head into this winter, they can enter it with certainty that Conforto can have a normal offseason of preparation for the upcoming 2019 campaign. If the second half of this year is any indication, then Conforto could be in for another strong full season next year.

I graduated from St. John's University with a degree in sports management. I previously wrote about the Johnnies at Rumble In the Garden.