With their first pick in the 2014 pick, at No. 10 overall, the Mets drafted Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto.
The 21-year-old is listed at 6’1″, 215 lbs and hit .345/.504/.547 for Oregon State this year, on his way to earning his second-straight Pac-12 Player of the Year. While the optimistic projections for Conforto forsee 20-25 home runs in the big leagues, he had just seven in 59 games for Oregon State, to go along with 16 doubles in 59 games.
He’s a very “Mets” pick, in the sense that he displayed outstanding strike zone control as a Beaver. This year, he drew more walks (55) than he had strikeouts (38) for a 20 percent walk rate and a 14 percent strikeout rate.
Here’s what people are saying about Conforto:
Conforto’s signature tool is his left-handed power, which could produce 25-plus homers on an annual basis once he gets to the Major Leagues. He doesn’t get cheated at the plate, taking a big uppercut hack that produces nice loft on his drives…. Most of his value comes from his bat, because while he has some athleticism, he’s a left fielder with subpar speed, range and arm strength.
Conforto ranks as the best present hitter in the 2014 draft….Conforto has present strength and above-average bat speed. He has controlled his aggressiveness as a junior, taming a swing that got too big over the summer with Team USA. … He has plus raw power and should project to hit 20-25 [homeruns]annually. He also has improved his fringy outfield defense, which is seen as adequate for left field, with average arm strength that doesn’t always play. Conforto has shown playmaking ability with the glove, however, with show-stopper plays in the College World Series last year and key outfield assists in games against rival Oregon.
Conforto might be the best pure hitter in the class; a left-handed hitting outfielder with plus power and an outstanding approach at the plate. He’s not going to be among the UZR leaders in the outfield, but he’s improved there, and should be able to handle left field at least in the short to medium turn. The Mets outfield isn’t exactly murderer’s row, so he could move quickly through the Mets system, perhaps helping New York late in 2015 if things go right.
Baseball Prospecus (NIck J. Faleris)
There’s more pull-side power in the bat than his seven home runs would indicate, and he gets to it easy thanks to a pronounced uppercut in the swing and raw strength that allows him to generate easy lift and carry. The tradeoff is a diminished overlap of swing and pitch plane due to the barrel’s quick passage through the hit zone. He can struggle adjusting to secondaries away, and there is risk the hit tool will lag at the next level as he is more consistently challenged with quality off-speed stuff.
Defensively it’s a left field profile whose nose for the ball outdistanced the physical tools he uses to chase them down. He’s a below-average runner with average arm strength that should be able to provide adequate defense at the seven spot, but lacks the arm for right or the coverage for center. He profiles as a power-first middle-of-the-order bat capable of 25-plus home runs a year. While the on-base production this spring has been staggering, the walks will likely drop some as more advanced arms challenge him in the zone.
- Two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year (’13 & ’14)
- Finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy for the nation’s top collegiate player
- First ever Oregon State three-time All-American (Louisville Slugger First Team)
- Three-time first-team All-Pac-12
- 2013 College World Series All-Tournament Team
- 2012 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
- Louisville Slugger Freshman Hitter of hte Year and Freshman All-American
- 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year