By Matt Ehalt
Athletic excellence flows throughout the Conforto family.
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto’s mother, Tracie, is a three-time Olympic medalist swimmer. His father, Mike, played linebacker for Penn State in the 1970s.
Michael has continued the athletic tradition by becoming one of the most beloved homegrown Mets in recent years. The sweet-swinging lefty helps anchor the middle of their lineup.
It didn’t take Conforto long to leave his mark in the majors with the Washington native playing in the World Series just 16 months after being drafted.
The Mets selected Conforto with the 10th pick in the 2014 draft following a sensational career with Oregon State. A little more than a year later, Conforto debuted July 24 against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Three months later, he put himself in good company by homering in his first career postseason at-bat, taking Zack Greinke deep at Dodger Stadium in Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS.
Conforto batted .333 against the Royals in the World Series that year, one of the few Mets who had a strong showing that series. He homered in each of his two first at-bats in the pivotal Game 4 at Citi Field and also tallied two hits in the decisive Game 5.
By playing in the Fall Classic, Conforto became just the third player to appear in the World Series, College World Series and Little League World Series, joining Ed Vosberg and Jason Varitek in that exclusive group. Conforto played in the 2004 Little League World Series with Redmond (Wash.) North, and in the 2013 College World Series with Oregon State.
Conforto struggled in 2016, hitting a career-worst .220 with a career-low .725 OPS while also being demoted, but he rebounded to earn his first All-Star selection in 2017.
The outfielder hit .279 with a .939 OPS that year, smashing 27 homers and driving in 68 runs despite suffering a late-season injury that cost him all of September. That season showcased Conforto’s potential in his first extended season as an everyday player.
Conforto used the momentum from his breakout campaign to hit 61 homers spanning the next two seasons, including a career-best 33 bombs and 92 RBI in 2019. He has posted an OPS+ of at least 122 in five of his six seasons in the majors, and has topped 130 three times.
In addition to his strong offensive skills, Conforto is also a solid defender in the corner spots.
With his pedigree and offensive potential, it may not be too long before Conforto mirrors Christian Yelich and takes the leap into the superstar realm. He has long been tagged as a player on the cusp of greatness and has all the tools to be ranked among the game’s elite.