Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus seems to agree with me regarding first round draft pick Michael Conforto and the decision to start his professional career with the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Short-Season NYPL.
Here is what Dr. Parks has to say:
Conforto is a man among boys in the New York-Penn League, as his polished game and field utility make him look like a major leaguer playing a pickup game in the park against weekend softball warriors.
The fact that he stands out is both good and bad; the former is great for the Mets, as they clearly drafted a player of merit, but the latter is bad for scouting, as it’s hard to get an accurate picture of the player when he is facing highly erratic talent that doesn’t offer much of a challenge.
I like the swing, as it’s fluid and easy, and the ball jumps off the bat with some volume. I like the raw, although I’d peg the power in the solid-average range rather than a middle-of-the-lineup masher with a plus or better distinction.
The defense in left field has been fine, as he shows off athleticism and an accurate arm. He isn’t a burner but he runs well enough for the position and while on base, and he carries himself like a player who not only knows the game of baseball from a fundamental level but brings those skills to the field on all fronts. But it’s difficult in this particular context to see how bright his star will really shine, and based on a limited three game sample, I’d say the profile will be more solid-average than star.
For some reason the Mets have been starting all of their top college draft picks in Low-A and longtime MMO readers will remember my rants about this when the Mets dispatched Kevin Plawecki to Brooklyn after the former Boilermaker was drafted and signed.
I feel like it’s a waste of time to place these 21-22 year old players in a league that is less competitive than the college level competition they hail from. Especially when we are talking about Division 1 All-Americans – or in other words – the best of the best.
What’s to be gained by having them play in a league where the majority of players are anywhere from 3-4 years younger than them and the league presents no challenge?
By the way, I’ve been asked a few time if I believe Conforto will be going to the Arizona Fall League this season. While nothing official has been announced, I’d be very surprised if Conforto wasn’t there with all of the other top prospects in baseball.
But then again, the Mets have recently usurped the original purpose of the AFL which was intended to be a showcase of future stars. In recent years, the Mets have been using the AFL as some sort of half-assed rehab camp for their recovering players or minor league fodder that needs additional playing time.