Ernest Dove - Why Is Michael Conforto Still In Brooklyn?


     When the Mets drafted Michael Conforto #10 overall in the June 2014 draft, he was hyped and projected as an 'advanced bat', who may not see a lot of time in the minor leagues. Some/many viewed Conforto as the top hitting prospect in the draft.  And with Mets organization, and more specifically its fans, praying and hoping for immediate success in the first place, it then made sense for the Mets to select a college position player in the draft, and not simply continue to add arms to a farm system that already has plenty.  Because, I again, this team is supposed to be building for the NEAR future now.

     Obviously, things got off to a rocky start, with Conforto not even officially signing on the dotted line for a bit longer than all the other draft picks around him. However, Our highly touted 'college' bat finally made it to being a professional baseball player.  All that was left, immediately, was to decide which team to start with.  Different organizations have all kinds of different ways to operate in this regard.  Based on Conforto age (21), and projected high ceiling 'advanced' status, some were clamoring for an overly zealous placement right into one of the full season leagues within the Mets organization.  However, ultimately, Conforto found himself in short season league with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

     I don't necessarily have a problem with this.  There are plenty of 21 year olds in this league.  Plus, everyone always talks about the 'grind' of starting your professional baseball career out of high School/college anyway, so why put added pressure on a young man whom the organization immediately has such high hopes for.

     But then, a funny thing happened. The kid immediately started living up to expectations.  Conforto began to hit.  And he continued to hit....... oh, wait, excuse me, he went about 2 weeks with a few 0-4 and 1-4 games, and some freaked out that he wasn't really good anymore.   Well, never mind all that.  In fact, in his past 4 games for the Cyclones, Conforto is a ridiculous 11 for 20 at the plate (as of  Thursday morning).

     What got my juices flowing a little regarding this kid were two things.  Number one, there was recent chatter about 18 year old SS Amed Rosario maybe being promoted from Brooklyn to the Low A, full season Savannah ball club for the organization following his all star appearance in the NYPL.  Then, as in the case that always seems to go with the Mets (mostly their fans), not only did this not happen, but Rosario himself was out for a week with a 'minor' shoulder issue anyway. Number 2, the Mets organization themselves seems allude to the fact, early on, that the good people of Brooklyn wouldn't really be seeing a lot Conforto, because he was....... yeah, an 'advanced' bat.

     Well, we are about to hit September. Per usual, at least for the past year or two anyway, most of the minor league affiliates within the Mets farm system all find themselves in their leagues playoff races, including the Brooklyn Cyclones.

     Now, if you've the Mets for a few year, then you know that they appear to be infatuated with the idea of their top prospects getting 'playoff experience' in the minor leagues.  Ok, well, just one possible minor problem here.  Not only are the Brooklyn Cyclones competing for a spot, but there is also that little old team out in Savannah, who, while also chasing a playoff spot of their own, also happens to already be the DEFENDING CHAMPIONS in their league.  So, still doesn't make any sense to me to keep the now overall .338 BA, .415 OBP Conforto with the short season club any longer.

     I remember early on, there were a few conspiracy theories about the front office wanting Conforto in Brooklyn to get a closer look at him.  Well, its been over 30 games now, I think they should have seen enough. And it can't be an age thing.  If you look at the Brooklyn roster, their top prospects (Rosario, Urena, Molina and Meister) are all under the age of 20.  Even Brandon Nimmo, the recent first round pickup out of high school for the Mets, is currently learning the AA ball level in Binghamton, while being a couple of weeks younger that Conforto.  Now, obviously different situations here, with Nimmo already having been with the organization for a few years, but still, the kid never even played on a high school baseball team, and he is now possibly on his way to being at Citi field by age 22 anyway.

     And again, with the age thing, is it funny, sad, or maybe in someway ironic that the last legit starting position player to be rushed by the Mets to the major leagues is none other than a once 20 year old, making his début having kid named......... Ruben Tejada.  

     Anyway, back to the point (if I even have one at this point).  What has been preventing the organization from promoting a young man who is playing above his current level of competition?  He's not an 18-19 year old hot shot kid who's putting up numbers, and the organization doesn't want to rush him (you know, like some 20 year pitcher name Mejia).
It can't really be about getting playoff experience, because the Savannah club, even with their current/recent losing streak, can also make the playoffs too.

     Is it about not wanting the Cyclones to flounder in his absence.?  Because, technically, the Mets have a couple of outfielders in the level below the Cyclones (Kingsport), who have been a tear lately themselves, including the 'other' kid in the RA Dickey trade, Wuilmer Becerra, who himself has been maintaining a .300+ average the past few weeks.

     As for the Savannah current outfield........ well....... there is a 22 year old corner outfielder named Stefan Sabol, who is currently hitting UNDER .200.  The other corner outfield, 22 year old Victor Crusade, who has definitely been hot of late (hitting over .320 in his last 10 games), but I don't either in the Mets top 20 prospect list.
     Well, anyway, I guess I've tried to say my peace with this.  We can argue for days about the Mets organization holding back certain players nearing a possible début, like Harvey, Wheeler, Flores, Montero, Thor and the like recently.  But im not arguing about major league promotions (at least not today).  I'm simply humbly stating that a 21 year old, 'advanced' bat is currently continuing to pretty much dominate, and/or handle pretty easily his current level of competition right now.  And, he's not a pitcher with an innings limit.  He's not missing out on a playoff appearance (unless Savannah continues to fade like the parent club is known to do at this time). He simply (according to stats only, and not any real legit development analysis on my part) looks like a young man ready to conquer a bigger opponent, even if just for a couple months.

     So........... somebody with more knowledge, expertise and know how, please school me. Let me know why its better for Conforto to hang with our 18-19 year old talent out in Brooklyn.


Mack Ade said...

The easy answer here would be the Wilpons want him around for the Cyclones post season playoffs

Michael S. said...

I agree with Mack. Plus, I don't think a few weeks in Savannah are really going to impact his development. He starts 2015 in St. Lucie and I think that's always been the plan. This year has just been about getting his feet wet.

Michael S. said...

I think Conforto is going to follow a similar minor league path as Ike Davis:

Draft Year: Brooklyn
1st Full Year: A+, AA
2nd Full year: AAA, MLB

Ernest Dove said...

Sounds good to me.......hopefully I can drive out to st Lucie next year and check him out.

Richard Jones said...

The game is more than hitting. Conforto is doing well offensively in Brooklyn but that's it. He was jst over .300 a week ago. He just got hot and there are only a few games away.
His defense is another story. The average major league left fielder average 1 error per 100 chances. Conforto is averaging 11 errors per 100 chances. He make 11 errors per every one error an average left fielder makes. He also isn't getting to as many balls as the average left fielder.

He has a long way to go defensively. Hopefully he rakes in the minors and someone like d'Arnaud fill the left field hole and we can deal Conforto to the American League where he can DH.

James Preller said...

I was shocked -- but not surprised -- to see that Conforto has 6 errors already with the Cyclones in only 38 games. When drafted, that was the early word. He was bad defensively, with no arm, and couldn't run.

Six errors in LF in less than a quarter of a season is plenty bad.

The good news is, with this organization, we'll probably convert him to shortstop. Because, you know, anybody can play there.

JP (2 Guys)

Mack's Mets © 2012