Del’s Trade Proposal: Brewers trade LHP Josh Hader and CF Avisail Garcia to the Mets in exchange for RF Michael Conforto and a PTBNL (Lesser pitching prospect).
Before I begin, I have to say that I have been a huge Conforto fan since before his MLB debut. I remember watching MLB Network and listening to the Mets selecting him 10th overall in the 2014 Amateur Draft. I saw him play for the Cyclones in his professional debut season and in 2016 I was fortunate enough to get an autograph from him after a double-header AAA game while he was sent down to work on his bat after a sophomore slump. At some Mets game you may have even heard myself scream KID-FORTO with some other die hard fans at the top of our lungs. However in the scenario where the Mets decide to sign George Springer, then I think Conforto should be traded. Also be sure to also check out an article that my Buddy Corne wrote back in October on his thoughts about trading Conforto.
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but as a baseball nerd I try to stay unbiased and research stats to see how the Mets can improve. I started to look at the Fangraphs.com stats for Michael Conforto to see if I can make sense of his huge step forward in 2020 and if it was sustainable, and what I saw from his 2020 BABIP alarmed me. Unless the Mets agree to an extension with Conforto, he is on his way to become a free agent after the 2021 baseball season. It is also likely that if the Mets do sign George Springer, that he will eventually work his way to RF after a couple of season due to his age and CF defensive projections.
Fangraph is one of my favorite tools to do research and I strongly encourage people to use it for advance stats. They do a great job explaining BABIP (see image below). In a nutshell, luck and opposing teams defense are what factors into BABIP. It can give you a sense of sustainability.
How does this factor into Conforto’s 2020 season? There’s no question that Conforto took a huge step and I fear that it is not sustainable because of his BABIP that year. From 2015-2019 Conforto’s BABIP varied from as low as .267 to as high as .328. In 2020, Conforto BABIP jumped up to .412!! In short, the numbers show sign that luck was a big factor to his successful step forward and that his production is likely not sustainable into the 2021 season.
The Brewers have discussed moving Josh Hader during the offseason. Lorenzo Cain is still a solid defender at age 34 and is going to be returning in 2021 after opting out due to COVID-19. Conforto would benefit from playing in Miller park. Imagine what the Brewer OF would look with Yelich, Cain,, and Conforto. Avsail would be a big defensive upgrade for the Mets at CF. The larger piece is obviously the 27 year old power LHP, Josh Hader, who is under team control through 2023. Thoughts?
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)