Before the season started, Mets fans were skeptical about a great many things. There was the great starting pitching staff that seemed to good to be true and, unfortunately, the skeptics were right. Others were skeptical of the emergence of Michael Conforto and, thankfully, the optimists were right about this one.
The Mets left fielder has hit .320/.412/.664 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 39 games in 2017. The stench of his 2016 season has dissipated and it seems like the Mets finally have the All-Star-caliber Conforto everybody has been clamoring for. In case you’ve forgotten, though, he’s not the only left fielder on the Mets.
Remember when the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year $110 million contract this offseason? Well, the Gold Glove left fielder has been injured for a few weeks but is on the brink of returning. Conforto is best suited to play a corner outfield position, but with Jay Bruce swinging the bat well in right field, he might be relegated to center field duties upon Cespedes’s return.
When you think about it, Yoenis Cespedes is probably the only left fielder in the Major Leagues that could displace Michael Conforto right now. Starling Marte is their closest competition, however he is missing 80 games for violating MLB’s drug policy (cheating). Ryan Braun would have been up there a few years ago, but his age and sub-par defense have left him more qualified for a DH job than the outfield.
Here and now, I say the Mets currently have the two best left fielders in baseball today. When Cespedes returns from his hamstring injury, he and Conforto will likely hit back-to-back in the lineup and form a deadly one-two punch every day.
Before his injury, Cespedes was hitting .270/.373/.619 with six home runs and 10 RBIs in 18 games. Despite only playing 138 games in 2016, he finished 8th in MVP voting and won the Silver Slugger award for left fielders, making his second career All Star Game appearance. He is a marvel to watch at the plate and his arm is a sight to behold.
When Michael Conforto was first called up, he was tagged as a sub-par defensive outfielder. However, he has proven that scouting report completely incorrect. He has shown time and time again that he is an above-average outfielder with a strong and accurate arm, which he showcased in Sunday’s game against the Angels when he nailed a runner at the plate with a perfect throw.
Cespedes has more speed, Conforto has more hustle. Cespedes’ arm is stronger, Conforto’s arm is more accurate. Cespedes has more raw power, Conforto has better bat control. While Conforto might have to play another position because he’s shown he is capable of that while Cespedes is at his best in left field, both are phenomenal players. The Mets have, without a doubt, the two best left fielders in the game of baseball today.