For Michael Conforto, things were pretty odd in 2018.
The common theme among fans seems to be that Conforto didn’t play well in the first half because of shoulder surgery and stepped up fully healed in the 2nd half, but when put under a microscope, that doesn’t match up.
.156/.287/.255 1st half at home
.274/.397/.473 1st half away
Conforto was there the whole time, he was just absent at Citi field and doing all his hitting away.
In the 2nd half, Conforto raked both at home and away, which is a big deal for two reasons: he is certainly fully healed from his shoulder surgery (if it was ever an issue in 2018) and he figured out how to hit at Citi field.
.282/.344/.518 2nd half at home
.267/.365/.555 2nd half away
What happened? Well, Conforto started pulling the ball at Citi, and with more authority.
His hard hit % went up 7% in the 2nd half, his soft hit % dropped 1.5%, and he started pulling the ball about 3% more. Conforto also exchanged some fly balls for line drives (and a few ground balls as well), but the fly balls he did still hit were farther and hit harder than in the first half (hello homerun jump). What we can gleam from that was that Conforto learned that his extreme opposite field tendencies were harming his ability to drive the ball, and by reducing this number (he’s still a well-rounded hitter, purists) he was able to make more of his ability to pull the ball hard. Conforto was also more aggressive in the second half, walking alot less at home (6% less !!) but dropping his strikeout percentage by 2% as well.
If you’re a skeptic (that’s a good thing!), another Met did a very similar thing at home in the 2nd half to hit better- pulling the ball more, making less soft contact (he dropped his by 5.4%!), and trading some fly balls for line drives. His name would be Brandon Nimmo. It’s endearing to see two cornerstones of homegrown Mets position players figure out how to hit at Citi field in-season, and very exciting for their prospects of hitting well in 2019.
If this is the Michael Conforto we are going to see in 2019, then Mets fans are in for a real treat, as I am convinced even with the new offensive additions, Conforto will have one of the best seasons a Met has had since prime David Wright.