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2014 Draft Profile: Michael Conforto
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School: Oregon State; Class: Junior
Position: LF; B/T: :L/R
Height: 6-2; Weight: 217 pounds
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Quite remarkable that Conforto went from an undrafted high school player to becoming a two-time member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and a potential top pick – and quite possibly the first collegiate bat taken in June.
Conforto burst onto the scene as a true freshman for Oregon State in 2012, slugging .349/.437/.601 with a team-leading 13 homeruns. He followed that with another impressive showing a year later, taking the important step of improved plate discipline while hitting .328/.447/.526 with 14 doubles, one triple, and 11 homeruns.
This season, the lefty-swinging corner outfielder has taken his production up to an entirely new level. Through his first 35 games, Conforto is hitting .415/.552/.585 with 13 extra-base hits and a career best 33-to-18 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Projection: On the positive side, Conforto spends half his time playing in a rather neutral ballpark. But his sudden decline in homeruns so far is at least a little alarming. His plate discipline has definitely been trending in the right direction throughout his career, posting strikeout-to-walk ratios of 37-to-24, 47-to-41, and 18-to-33 (through 35 games).
Conforto doesn’t show a whole lot of speed, but the power/patience/hit tool combination more than makes up for it. As for as a similar player, think Michael Choice – or at least what Michael Choice was supposed to be, a .290/.340/.480-type hitter with 20+ homerun power. And at the very least, Conforto should be a strong bench bat/platoon option.
Ceiling: 4.0-win player
Floor: 1.0 to 1.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average
Draft Projection: First Round
Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications via OSUBeavers.com