What a difference a year makes.
On Aug. 24, 2017 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mets’ outfielder Michael Conforto crumpled to the ground after a swing and a miss.
It was the cherry on top of an awful, terrible Mets’ season where nothing had gone right. Coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, the 2017 Mets were marred by injuries, players were traded and they missed the postseason by a huge margin.
Conforto was the Mets’ lone All-Star last year, and one of the very few bright spots in an otherwise dreadful campaign.
After he was removed from the game, it was later revealed that he had dislocated his left shoulder and torn his posterior capsule. His season was over and 2018 was in jeopardy.
Then, one year ago this Thursday, Conforto opted to have surgery to repair the posterior capsule, which was slated to keep him out until early May 2018 the earliest.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, close to Chavez Ravine where the Mets opened up a three-game series on Monday.
For Conforto, going back to L.A. to play baseball, and not for surgery and subsequent check-up’s on his shoulder, was a feeling of great happiness.
“It’s good to be flying here and playing a game,” Conforto told Mike Puma of the New York Post prior to Monday night’s 4-2 Mets victory over the Dodgers.
Conforto had a career year in 2017, clubbing 27 homers and slashing .279/.384/.555 with a 146 wRC+ and .392 wOBA.
The Oregon native returned earlier than expected in 2018, but struggled to play at the level he did the year prior.
However, as of late, Conforto has looked more comfortable at the dish and is starting to get back to his old ways.
In the second half of the season thus far, Conforto has hit .255/.335/.471 with nine homers and 25 RBI. On the season, he has 20 home runs total and has brought his triple slash up to .230/.341/.403.
20 home runs is a solid benchmark for Conforto, who after his surgery, no one knew what kind of season he’d have in 2018. For him, it’s an accomplishment and a sign that shows he’s been able to stay on the field.
“It means I have stayed healthy this year and I have played in a lot of games, it’s something to take away from this year, to be able to put out that power consistently,” Conforto said.
“But it’s not what I set out to do this year. That wasn’t one of my goals to go out there and hit 20 homers. I wanted to stay healthy first and continue to do the things I was doing last year. There have been some ups and downs.”
Conforto still has one more month to continue improving his offensive numbers.
Hitting coach Pat Roessler wrote down numbers going into the second half that he believed Michael Conforto would put up, but hasn’t revealed them to the hitter.
Once the season ends, he plans to show him.
“At the end of the year he will show me and we’ll talk about it,” Conforto said. “Until then I just have to keep going.”
At the end of the day, Conforto seems to finally be 100 percent again or close to it, and will have a full offseason this year to get even stronger and back to his stellar self.
“I don’t have any regrets on anything,” Conforto said. “If I wait and play against extended-spring guys or I play in the minor leagues would that have just pushed back figuring out what I need to do at the major league level? It’s tough to tell. I feel like I am in a good place now and I am looking forward to the offseason and moving ahead.”