*Stats as of 9/21/18*
I don’t mean to speak for all fans, but you’d be lying if you can sit here and say there was not a period of time where doubt ran through your heads. Was Michael Conforto ever going to return to his 2017 form? Was his shoulder surgery going to hinder the rest of his career? These were heartbreaking thoughts 99.9% of us went through. No matter how many times he would say “It’s not the shoulder, my shoulder is fine”, it was hard to believe him. The All Star Break hit and he was only hitting .216/.344/.366 with 11 homers and 10 doubles in 85 games. Yeah, Brandon Nimmo was emerging, basically hitting how Michael Conforto was in 2017 (even though he didn’t make the all star team but we wont’t get into that). It just wasn’t the same though…looking back at 2017, the only bright spot I can remember is Michael Conforto emerging into the star we all know he could become, before dislocating his shoulder and tearing his posterior shoulder capsule (but we won’t get into that either because that’s in the past). As a fan of this team, I wanted that Michael Conforto back more than anything else. Well, lucky for us, it seems like he is back!
.269/.343/.538, 16 homers, 12 doubles, 59 games.
That is the post All-Star slash line for Michael Conforto. What sticks out to me is the jump in slugging percentage from .366 to .538. The biggest question for pretty much everyone was whether or not he’d be able to find his power stroke again. For comparison’s sake, his career slugging percentage sits at .442. A .366 slugging percentage was a big red flag for all of us, especially given how he was coming off such a serious shoulder injury. It’s not just slugging percentage that shows the increase in power from Conforto in the second half. Here’s a more advanced stats example from @MBrownstein89:
In September alone, Conforto is hitting .278/.329/.646 with 8 homers, good for the MLB lead this month. This latest surge to go along with his great second half in general has pushed his overall numbers up to a .239/.343/.785 slash line. He’s hit 22 doubles and has reached his 2017 home run total of 27 homers. In terms of wins above replacement, he is sitting at 2.5 WAR, good for a “solid starter” according to Fangraphs. So basically, in what seemed to be such a lost season for Michael Conforto, one in which we all thought he was grossly underperforming, a second half surge made it so, instead, he’s been a league average player.
The Michael Conforto Swing™ is back:
The Smiley, cheery, happy Michael Conforto is back (not sure if he ever left but I just love this GIF):
And thus, happy, realistically (I like to think at least) optimistic Marissa is back. I am very excited for a (hopefully) fully healthy 2019 season of Michael Conforto. There is no reason to believe the 2017 form won’t be there, so no, I will not contain my excitement!