After two seasons of inconsistent playing time for the Mets, Michael Conforto grabbed hold of the starting left field job in 2017 with an All-Star worthy first two months. On the one hand, that's not totally shocking. Conforto was selected in the 2014 MLB Draft 10th overall -- Kyle Schwarber was the only college hitter selected ahead of him. On the other hand, Conforto wasn't drafted at all out of high school. In his three years at Oregon State, he went from off the scouting radar to an early first round pick.
Taking a longer view, in the span of six years, he went from an undrafted high school shortstop from Redmond High School in Washington to a guy who can do this:
Thanks to the Major League Scouting Bureau we have a snapshot of Conforto's evolution from unspectacular high school shortstop to first round pick.
Toward the end of his freshman year in Corvallis, the MLSB filed a scouting report based on an extended four-game evaluation of Conforto. He had moved to right field at Oregon State, and the problem with his profile was apparent: He couldn't really hit.
As a result of that bleak hitting outlook, Conforto received an OFP -- overall future projection -- of 50, meaning he projected as nothing more than an average major leaguer.
However, once he got to Oregon State, all Conforto did was hit. As a freshman, he hit .349 with a school-record 76 RBI on his way to being named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. He hit .328 as a sophomore and was named Pac-12 Player of the Year. Prior to his junior year, he was named by Sporting News as the preseason Player of the Year for all of college baseball.
Prior to that junior season, another scouting report was filed on Conforto that reflected the clear fact that, in fact, he could hit.
Not only could he hit for power, but he also was able to make adjustments within an at-bat. It would be hard to construct a more glowing summary of an outfield prospect:
Unsurprisingly, this report produced a more optimistic future outlook for Conforto: a solidly above-average regular at the Major League level.
There's no doubt that there's something these reports all missed on: Conforto's arm. Neither report projected his arm as better than average, which doesn't at all explain this:
In other words, Conforto didn't stop evolving just because MLSB reports were no longer filed for him. Nearly three years after he was drafted, Conforto continues to grow into the player that his early selection projected.