The New York Mets are, before the Friday games, a couple of games from a spot in the playoffs. They have played poorly, as their 20-24 record suggests, but if things break right, they could sneak in as one of the wild card teams or maybe even as a second-placed team, although that’s very unlikely.
If the New York Mets are alive by now, it is in large part thanks to the offensive excellence of Michael Conforto. If the 2020 season has been rough for many players in MLB, it has represented another step forward for the lefty-hitting outfielder.
In 44 games and 187 plate appearances, Conforto has hit eight homers and has a shiny .340/.428/.562 slash line, with an excellent .423 wOBA and a 170 wRC+. He has accumulated 1.7 fWAR.
He has even had a few defensive highlights. Truth be told, Conforto has been the heart and soul of the team and the offensive star in a roster filled with top performers such as Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil and others.
Conforto is peaking at the right time if we consider his earning potential. He will go to his third and final arbitration year in 2021, so the Mets may consider extending him.
What would it take? In this fine analysis by Mets’ beat writer for MLB.com Anthony DiComo, he notes that he averaged .257 with an .855 OPS and 29 home runs from 2017 to 2019. Those numbers should also enter the discussion of his next deal.
The Mets’ outfielder keeps evolving
Given that Conforto is hitting lefties with authority and mashing to all fields, we can say he has advanced as a hitter. He is also young, at 27, so he won’t be cheap.
While he is a Scott Boras client, and those tend to wait to reach free agency, it will be Conforto’s decision if he signs an extension with the Mets.
“Everyone always says that Scott is a big free-agency guy and he’s a big fan of that, but Scott … is obviously going to give me the best advice that he feels he has for me as a player and for my career,” Conforto said in February. “Ultimately, it’s my decision. I think it’s somewhat of a misconception about Scott and his clients. He wants what’s best for us. He’s going to give us his best advice. But at the end of the day, he’ll tell you, ‘It’s my client’s decision.’”
Similarly-rated players, like Charlie Blackmon, Justin Upton and JD Martinez, have gotten between five and six years, ranging from $100 million to $110 million.
Will the New York Mets look to extend Conforto?