The Mets selected outfielder Michael Conforto of Oregon State with their 10th overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday.
Mets Area Scout Jim Reeves told Clayton Collier of MMO that he scouted Conforto for the Mets and described him as a “complete ballplayer” who has the ability to hit 20-25 homers in the majors.
Defensively, Reeves said, Conforto is probably a corner outfielder with a “45” (average) arm.
Conforto, 21, batted .345 (70-203) with seven home runs and 56 RBI in 59 games this season for the Oregon State Beavers, and 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 was considered by many as the best bat in the draft and Jim Callis emphasized, “by best I mean high school or college.”
Baseball America also ranked Conforto as “the best present hitter in the 2014 draft.”
“Conforto has present strength and above-average bat speed. He has plus raw power and should project to hit 20-25 home runs 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.”
Paul DePodesta says the Mets didn’t enter the draft looking specifically for a college player. But they did want Conforto, and he was there.
“We were just really hopeful that we would have a chance to call his name,” DePodesta said. “I wouldn’t say we were optimistic, but we were hopeful.”
“He’s an advanced hitter and certainly has a chance to move quicker than the high school players that we have taken the last few years.”
The Mets wanted someone that was already pretty much following their hitting approach. Someone they didn’t have to work hard to transform. Conforto came as close to that as you can get.
“It’s a real fit for what we like in a hitter,” said Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous. “The patience, the discipline. This is a hitter with very few weaknesses right now.”
Conforto calls his approach at the plate “relaxed aggression” and a “smart intensity.”
Said Conforto during a conference call, “I feel very fortunate and very blessed that I’ve been given this opportunity. I’m overwhelmed with excitement. It’s a dream come true for me.”
There’s a good chance Conforto could debut before Brandon Nimmo.