Breaking Down Michael Conforto’s Slump

Michael Conforto lost his rookie status during the playoffs last season, and is currently in his first full season as a Met. The kid started off as hot as can be hitting .365 with 4 HR’s and 18 RBI’s during the first month of the season. Mike started getting comparisons to sluggers and former MVP’s Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. That may have been just a little premature, as the month of May was a completely different story. During May, Michael hit .169 with 4 HR’s and only 6 RBI’s, this leaves him at a mark of .252 with 8 HR’s and 24 RBI’s. This slump has been dreadful, as Conforto is currently 14-for-his-last-85 (.165 AVG). There can be many different reasons for this slump, and I am not making excuses for the kid, but here are two possible reasons.

In my opinion the main reason for this major slump is because he the kid is getting way to many off days. TC hasn’t given Conforto a start against a lefty in a long time (3 starts versus lefties this season). Granted the kid is 4-for-34 (.118) on the season against south paws he needs these starts. I don’t see the harm in starting him, as the Mets have struggled as a whole against left handed pitching (.227 AVG). Conforto also has to learn how to hit lefties at some point in his career. The more AB’s he gets early in his career, the more exposure he gets to left-handed pitching, and the more comfortable he can get.

Another reason Conforto is in such a major slump corresponds directly with the lack of playing time. He seems to be really forcing things at the plate and chasing bad pitches. He isn’t getting a chance against lefties so when he does play against righties he’s trying to make something big happen. This past game against the White Sox is an example of this (o-for-6, 4 K’s). Mike didn’t see many at-bats last weekend as the Mets faced two lefties (Urias and Kershaw). He got a pinch hit opportunity against Kershaw but flew out to center. In the three game set with the White Sox, Mike went 0-for-10 with 6 strikeouts. That isn’t anything like what he have seen from the kid. Which brings me to my next point.

Mike is chasing pitches, something which had been a rarity from him. In fact in his first ever scouting report, he was said to have a “power-and-patience approach.” In April, we saw this type of approach as Mike only struck out 15 times, compared to his 26 in May. Yes, this may just be “growing pains,” as pitchers are beginning to adjust to him, and he has to make adjustments to them. However, the Mets in the shape they are right now, with all the injuries (Duda, D’Arnaud, Wright), do not have room for these struggles. Mike needs to just go back to doing his thing. He may even consider taking a different approach at the plate. When the pitcher gets ahead in the count, Mike has 25 strikeouts and is hitting .207, compared to when he gets ahead he has a .281 AVG. This shows that patience is key for Mike, when he gets ahead he is in control of the at-bat and has more success. Mike has to just stop pressing at the plate and go back to being the Michael Conforto we all know and love. I am confident Conforto will soon return to his April form, and we will all fall in love with that beautiful swing of his all over again.

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