The Mets selected selected 21-year-old Oregon State OF Michael Conforto with the No. 10 pick in the First Year Player Draft on Thursday.
Conforto hit .345 (70-203) with a .508 OBP, seven home runs and 56 RBI in 59 games this season as a junior for the Oregon State Beavers. He was named the preseason Sporting News College Baseball Player of the Year prior to this season.
The 6-2, 217-pound native of Woodinville, WA, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, was named one of the five finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is given annually to the top collegiate player in the nation. He also won the PAC-12 Conference Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season and was the first three-time All-American in school history.
He is the fourth consecutive position player drafted in the first round by the Mets, joining outfielder Brandon Nimmo (2011), infielder Gavin Cecchini (2012) and first baseman Dominic Smith (2013).
The Conference Call
In a conference call with media after being picked, Conforto described his hitting style as, “Relaxed aggression, smart intensity,” which more or less describes exactly what Sandy Alderson expects of his hitters.
“It’s difficult to say how he’s going to move through the system, but he’s a polished college player,” Paul DePodesta said about Comforto. “He fits our MO so well.”
What they’ve said about him:
Jason A. Churchill (Prospect Insider): “Conforto, for me, is the best college option in terms of hitters, and he can really play the game. His power numbers were down for half the spring but he’s up to five long balls to go with 14 doubles and a pair if triples. … He has always reminded me of Nick Swisher, in terms of athleticism, body type and skills with the bat.”
MLB.com: “While there is some swing-and-miss to his game, he’s shown the ability to work counts, square up the baseball and could have above-average power at the next level. He might be limited to left field given his defensive profile, but he should have the bat to carry him to the highest level.”
Chris Crawford (MyMLBDraft): “There’s no doubting Conforto’s offensive ability, with above-average power from the left side and a solid approach at the plate, but a severe lack of defensive value hurts his value considerably. At the plate, Conforto has average bat speed but rotates his hips well and gets his hands moving quickly, and has plus power to the pull side. He works counts well and is willing to go the other way when necessary, and patience shouldn’t be an issue at the plate. He’s a well below-average runner, however, and adds little value on the bases. Defensively, however, Conforto is a bit of a mess. He doesn’t get good jumps on the ball in the outfield, and when he does get to the ball he has a poor throwing arm that runners can take extra bases on. He more than likely is going to end up at first base, though it’s unlikely he’ll be anything more than average there, and the bat doesn’t play as well.”
Oregon State coach Pat Casey (ESPN): “His work ethic is off the charts. He’s matured as a hitter and simply gotten better. Early in his career he got fooled on balls out of the zone and off-speed, but he just kept getting better and better. The numbers show that. … He has as much power to left center as he does to right. … For a guy that knew he was going to be a first-rounder and tempted to put up huge numbers, he did everything he could to help us win. If that meant taking a walk, he took a walk.”