Player: Michael Conforto
Drafted by: New York Mets
DOB: 03/01/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 217 lbs
School: Oregon State
Previously Drafted: Never drafted
After going undrafted out of high school, Michael Conforto jumped on the draft radar in 2012, batting .349/.438/.601 with 14 doubles and 12 home runs as a true freshman at Oregon State. He built on that success the following year by batting .328 with 11 home runs and, more importantly, leading the Beavers to the College World Series. His outstanding campaign led to him being named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, and it also helped him secure his second selection to the Team USA Collegiate National Team.
Under the microscope once again this year with potential first-round money on the line, Conforto is enjoying the finest season of his collegiate career. Through the Beavers' first 53 games this season, the 21-year-old is batting .364 with a .582 slugging percentage, 15 doubles, seven home runs and 55 RBI. He also boasts a ridiculous 49/33 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span, and he currently ranks third among all Division I hitters with a .518 on-base percentage.
While Conforto’s defensive home remains a question mark, his impressive track record and relatively safe offensive ceiling make him one of the more attractive hitters in this year’s class.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Conforto arguably owns the best hit tool in this year’s class; left-handed hitter’s bat speed is above average, and he employs a quiet swing with good weight transfer and hip rotation; keeps bat head in the zone for an extended period of time; demonstrates exceptional plate discipline to go along with advanced pitch recognition, as he rarely strays from his patient approach to leave the strike zone; stands out for his ability to work counts in his favor (and work deep counts in general); has significantly trimmed a lot of the swing-and-miss from his game this year; projects as at least a .275 hitter with a high on-base percentage at the highest level.
At 6’2”, 217 pounds, Conforto’s impressive strength and easy swing generate plus raw power; he’s more likely to jump the yard to his pull side, but he can still generate the necessary backspin to go to the opposite field; projects to hit 20-25 home runs annually in the major leagues.
Below-average runner who is likely to lose a step or two with further physical development.
Arm strength is average at best and will limit him to left field—or possibly first base—as a professional.
Lack of speed and athleticism gives him a limited defensive profile; shows subpar range in left field and doesn’t get consistently good jumps; makes the routine plays but also struggles at times controlling the speed of the game, which could be an issue in the minor leagues; candidate to move to first base as a professional, which could potentially accelerate his ascent up the ladder.
MLB Player Comparison: Josh Willingham
Conforto and Willingham (in his prime) share similar profiles as bat-first left fielders with above-average power, advanced on-base skills and defensive limitations.
Projection: First-division left fielder/second-division first baseman
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2015
Chances of Signing: 95 percent
Conforto’s track record over the last two seasons speaks for itself, and he’s continued to make improvements in all facets of his game despite heavy scrutiny. The 21-year-old will be one of the first college hitters to be selected in the first round and is a safe bet to sign.