Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto

29-Year-Old OutfielderOF
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Conforto's previous winter reminded us that baseball keeps good secrets. Conforto remained a free agent deep into the winter to the surprise of many outsiders until it was revealed that Conforto needed shoulder surgery to repair his labrum and he would miss the entire season. He had surgery on his front shoulder for his lefty swing which is normally an issue for hitters who have the surgery later in the year as it impacts their ability to get full extension on the swing. Conforto had his surgery early enough that he should be fully healed form the situation and hopefully be able to resume some level of power hitting after he signed with the Giants. The power numbers from 2017 to 2019 will likely skew expectations in the marketplace for what Conforto could do whereas a more realistic expectation coming off a missed season would be 15-20 homers with another healthy dose of walks. He is more valuable in the OBP formats given he has hit above .260 in just one full season. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#231
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Giants in December of 2022. Contract includes $18 million player option for 2024.
Gets two-year deal with Giants
OFSan Francisco Giants
December 23, 2022
Conforto agreed Friday with the Giants on a one-year, $18 million contract, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
Buster Olney of ESPN relays that Conforto's contract contains an $18 million player option for 2024. Though Conforto doesn't represent the big free-agent bat the Giants had been hoping to sign after the team had been in on Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, among others, the 29-year-old outfielder was one of the few hitters still available who has some upside. Conforto missed the entire 2022 season following surgery on his right shoulder but is expected to enter spring training without any limitations. Conforto is going to a park which suppresses left-handed power, so this isn't a great landing spot for fantasy purposes. However, the most important thing will be just showing he's healthy again.
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2020
 
 
+23%
OPS vs RHP
2022
No Stats
2021
 
 
+36%
OPS vs RHP
2020
 
 
+11%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2020vs Left .693 231 30 5 19 1 .236 .355 .338
Since 2020vs Right .850 477 62 18 67 3 .276 .375 .474
2022vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2022vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021vs Left .582 146 15 1 9 0 .205 .336 .246
2021vs Right .792 333 37 13 46 1 .243 .348 .444
2020vs Left .881 85 15 4 10 1 .288 .388 .493
2020vs Right .982 144 25 5 21 2 .352 .438 .544
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2020
 
 
+5%
OPS on Road
2022
No Stats
2021
 
 
+7%
OPS on Road
2020
 
 
+2%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2020Home .774 348 42 10 39 1 .260 .365 .409
Since 2020Away .814 364 50 13 47 3 .263 .368 .446
2022Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2022Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021Home .705 238 25 6 28 0 .230 .345 .360
2021Away .752 241 27 8 27 1 .233 .344 .408
2020Home .920 110 17 4 11 1 .323 .409 .510
2020Away .934 123 23 5 20 2 .321 .415 .519
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
Conforto's 2021 season was a major disappointment after he averaged nearly 30 homers the previous four seasons (prorated 2020 included). He missed some time in May and June with a hamstring injury. He wasn't exactly hitting before the injuries (.681 OPS), and the struggles (.607 OPS) continued after he returned from the IL through the end of July. From Aug. 1 on, he looked more like his old self with a .829 OPS. The season-long drop in production was a bit perplexing since he improved both his walks (10.3 BB% to 12.3 BB%) and strikeouts (24.5 K% to 21.7 K%). Compounding the issue is that he may end up on the strong side of a platoon since he can't hit lefties (career: .695 OPS vs LHP, .873 OPS vs RHP). He should be rostered with the expectation that he might need to be dropped if the playing time and/or talent does not return.
Conforto continues to make strides as a hitter. Way back in the day, there was pseudo-science around the Age 27 theory which pointed to many hitters having career years at age 27. It is a long-debunked theory, but that does not discredit what Conforto did at that age in the 2020 season. His 157 wRC+ was the eighth-best in the National League, and yet somehow Ryan Tepera received more MVP votes than Conforto did. The plate discipline skills have been remarkably consistent for a player in his mid-20s, but the career-best batting average was a big surprise. He did stop pulling the ball and used all fields, which is how DJ LeMahieu has done so well for the other New York team. Conforto's xBA came in at .284, and even that would have been a career-best batting average. Hitters that can hit the ball to all fields are tough to shift on, which allows for more hits to bleed through. This bears watching in 2021.
A quick glance at leading indicators, namely K%, BB% and average exit velocity, suggests a stagnation in Conforto's skills in his age-26 season, but there was some underlying growth. When Conforto did get fooled, he was able to make contact with those pitches out of the zone more often (63.4 O-Contact%). He trimmed his K% against left-handed pitching from 30.9% to 25.9% and hit .268 against offspeed pitches, up from .189 in 2018. Among 451 batters with at least 100 plate appearances, Conforto ranked 35th in xwOBA with a .367 mark, and his xwOBA on contact was up close to 30 points. A bonus for fantasy owners: Conforto was more active and efficient on the basepaths, stealing seven bags in nine attempts, matching his SB total from his first four seasons combined. There is still some platoon risk here, but Conforto has a strong skills base to prop up his floor and there may be another level to his game.
After undergoing shoulder surgery in September 2017, Conforto was initially expected to miss at least the first month of 2018. He pleased fantasy managers when he pushed through his rehab and missed only the first five games, but in hindsight, a longer recovery time would have been beneficial. Though he avoided setbacks with the shoulder, Conforto struggled to regain power in the first half and delivered a .150 ISO, 116 points lower than his 2017 mark. Fortunately, he seemed to be all the way back in peak form from mid-July on, raising his hard-hit rate nearly five percentage points en route to a .895 post-break OPS. With no injury concerns clouding his 2019 outlook, Conforto looks poised to keep his career on an upward trajectory. The fact that a compromised version of Conforto actually performed better against lefties (122 wRC+) than he did while ostensibly healthier the year before (94 wRC+) offers additional reason to be bullish.
Conforto was establishing himself as one of the game's most exciting young outfielders before a torn posterior capsule in his left shoulder ended his season in August. He hit over .300 in three separate months of the campaign and boosted his walk rate for the season to 13 percent. As a 24-year-old, Conforto ranked 30th in barrel rate with 7.5 Brls/PA (min. 190 batted-ball events), which resulted in a .557 xSLG and .276 ISO. His HR/FB rate was inflated to a great extent at 27.3 percent, and his struggles against lefties continued (.212/.284/.444), but Conforto looks like the real deal against righties and there is hope that he will improve with more exposure to southpaws. Unfortunately, Conforto may not be ready for the start of 2018 after undergoing surgery on his shoulder in September. Expect the Mets to give Conforto another chance to play every day once he's healthy.
Conforto has potential as he's exhibited solid plate skills in the minors with extra-base power. However, these have yet to translate to the major league level, in large part due serious deficiencies against lefty pitching. After a strong April (1.118 OPS), Conforto struggled the next two months (.519 OPS) was demoted in late June. He was recalled just after the All-Star break, hitting well initially but ultimately landing back at Triple-A Las Vegas in August. There was some hope that Conforto's early scuffles were a result of a sore wrist but his failure to produce in his second big league stint suggested otherwise. He returned for the final month, hitting a meek .236 in 38 at-bats with one homer. It doesn't help that Las Vegas is one of the best hitting environments in the minors, artificially boosting numbers, and expectations. Conforto's 2017 role is unclear, but he'll try to win a job in the outfield or first base this spring.
Yoenis Cespedes receives a lot of the credit for the Mets' second-half offensive surge, but Conforto's contributions cannot be overlooked. After his July 24 arrival from Double-A, Conforto quickly emerged as a valuable source of power, smacking 23 extra-base hits in 174 at-bats, while maintaining a near-league-average contact rate. Sure, he may have benefited from limited exposure to left-handed pitching (14 at-bats), and the average could fall if he moves into an everyday role in left field with Michael Cuddyer retired, but Conforto did not have dramatic lefty/righty splits in his two minor-league seasons. In fact, he had slightly better numbers against lefties (.904 OPS) than against righties (.897 OPS) with Binghamton prior to his callup. Given what he did in his first exposure to big-league pitching, his age and handle of the strike zone, there is reason to think he will continue to thrive with a full season's worth of at-bats near the middle of the Mets' lineup.
Conforto was drafted as a bat-first outfielder with the 10th overall pick in 2014 out of Oregon State. He won’t be ranked highly on national prospect lists as he profiles as a left fielder, but the impact potential on offense is real. He slashed .331/.403/.448 with three home runs in 186 plate appearances at short season Brooklyn, and figures to start 2015 at Low-A. Entering his age-22 season, Conforto has a chance to move fast. Considering defense won’t be a primary focus and given his hit and power tools, which both project as plus, he could get to Double-A by the end of the season, with a chance to debut with the Mets in the summer of 2016. At his peak, Conforto could provide a .285 average with 25 home runs, so he should be targeted in the early rounds of dynasty leagues this year.
More Fantasy News
Hitting, throwing again
OFFree Agent
November 28, 2022
Conforto (shoulder) remains engaged in hitting and throwing programs and isn't expected to face any restrictions for spring training, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports.
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Late-2022 return still possible
OFFree Agent
Shoulder
May 16, 2022
Conforto will look to sign a contract after the 2022 MLB Draft and could return as a designated hitter in September if he can get ahead in his shoulder rehab, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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Won't play in 2022 after surgery
OFFree Agent
Shoulder
April 23, 2022
Conforto underwent right shoulder surgery in mid-April and will not play in 2022, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
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Recovered from shoulder issue
OFFree Agent
March 30, 2022
Agent Scott Boras said Wednesday that Conforto is now healthy and in contract discussions after suffering a right shoulder injury in January, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
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Declines qualifying offer
OFFree Agent
November 8, 2021
Conforto declined the Mets' qualifying offer Monday and will head to free agency, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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