MMO Exclusive: Talkin’ Baseball With Top Prospect Dilson Herrera

dilson herrera

When the Mets knew that their 2013 season wasn’t going anywhere, they decided to unload two main players, Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates, hoping that in return they would receive some future value to the organization. What they did receive would not pay any dividends for years to come, but it was a way to continue to solidify their farm system with additional talented ballplayers. In last summers trade with the Pirates, the Mets brought in relief pitcher Vic Black and middle infielder Dilson Herrera, and even though Black may have been the player to make an immediate impact to the big league roster, Herrera could actually be the most significant part of the deal.

Herrera signed an international contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates at 16 years old. I asked him if they were the only team that showed interest in him, “I tried out with a few organizations and wasn’t sure who I would sign with, but the Pirates showed the most interest, so I decided I would sign with their organization,” he says.

While growing up in his native land of Colombia, both his father and grandfather played baseball and he tells me that he owes his talents to his upbringing, “My family has always loved baseball, and because my father played the game, he was able to show me how to play the right way.”

Before signing a contract to play professional baseball, Herrera was molded to be a shortstop and he even emulated how Jimmy Rollins played the position. But the Pirates had other plans and decided to sign him to play third base but then after one season they moved him to second base. Even though Herrera initially liked to play short, he tells me that the move to second was a better fit, “I felt that I was more comfortable playing second base, because shortstop was a bit more difficult to get adjusted to early on and the throws were much longer. But now, I have shown that I am capable of adjusting and playing both positions very well,” he says as he sits back in his chair with a confident look on his face.

In 2011, the top prospect played his first pro season in the Venezuelan Rookie League for the Pirates and he hit .308/.413/.472 with 19 doubles, five triples, two home runs, and 27 RBI’s. The following season he was promoted to the Pirates’ Gulf Coast team and in 53 games, he batted .281/.341/.482 with seven home runs, and 27 RBI’s. Herrera finished out the 2012 season with a bump to Low-A State College in the NY Penn League and in seven games batted .321/.345/.536.

Herrera would call the South Atlantic League home in 2013, and in 109 games for Single-A West Virginia he batted .265/.330/.421, with 27 doubles, 11 home runs, and 56 RBI’s. His prospect status was on the rise.

Dilson-Herrera1-178x300During that summer, Herrera represented the Pirates in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field, and became the second-youngest player to ever play in the game.

“It was an amazing experience to be in New York and have an opportunity to play at Citi Field. It was very special to me to be chosen for the game and something I will never forget,” says Herrera.

When the Pirates decided to part ways with the young infielder, initially he says he didn’t take it too well, “I was a bit confused and down when I was traded to the Mets, because I didn’t understand why the Pirates would trade me especially since they were the first team to sign me. I felt like they were my team.”

For a young kid from another country who was still not comfortable with the English language, leaving the only organization he ever knew was a shock to the system. But the one of the good things that came out of it was the immediate connection he made with the Mets organization.

Pedro Perez, a player within the Mets farm system, knew Herrera from their homeland of Colombia and he played a big part in helping Herrera to adjust to his new organization, “Pedro was the first person to contact me and welcome me to the Mets and I was very thankful that I had a friend that understood me and could help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings.”

After the trade, Herrera was assigned to Single-A Savannah for the last seven games of the season. He batted .316/.417/.316 with his new club. The move also allowed him to be a part of a team that would capture the 2013 SAL Championship.

“When I arrived in Savannah, the players, especially our manager Luis Rojas welcomed me and instantly made me feel like a member of the team. It was a great feeling to play with a group of guys that were good enough to win the league championship. I was very grateful for the opportunity to not only play but help the team win.”

For a player that is 5’10”, Herrera has displayed some surprising power, belting 22 home runs in three minor league seasons. But his plate approach is not about hitting home runs, but as he says, playing the game the right way. “I like to drive the ball the other way, and I don’t focus on hitting home runs, I just focus on putting the bat on the ball and making things happen,” says Herrera.

Dilson Herrera Bunting

Herrera oozes with confidence and focuses on producing the best he can from day to day. He tells me that he doesn’t worry about things beyond his control. “My main focus is to do what needs to be done on the field. I can only control that part of my game and I know that in time I will get my opportunity.”

Herrera, who is now playing with Advanced-A St. Lucie in his first full season with the organization, started the year 3-for-17 (.176) in his first five games. But since then he reeled off an 11-game hit streak in which he batted .391 (20 for 51), with three doubles, a triple, home run, five RBIs and four walks.

Overall this season, he has been a catalyst, batting .333/.389/.432, with eight multi-hit games. After seeing his hitting streak come to an on Monday, he started a new one on Tuesday with three hits and one more hit in Wednesday night’s game.

This exciting infield prospect has solidified himself in the lead-off spot for St. Lucie and he is one of the main components in a potent lineup that leads the Florida State League through Wednesday games with a .283 batting average, 99 runs, 190 hits, 92 RBI’s, 267 TB, and a .356 OBP.

“I feel very comfortable playing with St. Lucie and we have a very good team with a great group of talented guys that go out each and every night and compete.”

I had a chance to watch Herrera play from April 17-19, when the Mets visited the Miracle in Fort Myers, and what I witnessed was a very talented ballplayer that could turn on any fastball and drive it with power. His range at the shortstop and second base were flawless and his throws to first were very strong and accurate.

Only 20 years old, Herrera has had an incredible minor league career thus far, producing at every different level he’s played. He’s been dynamic both at the plate and in the field. In a few short years I can see him becoming an impact player on our big league roster. I’m excited for the day he makes his debut and electrifies our lineup.

Interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English for our readers to enjoy.

Presented By Diehards

About David Conde 205 Articles
David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.
  • Chrisshea

    This is the type of player I hoped Cecchini would become. Doesn’t seem likely at this point.

    Dilson though, is a very nice prospect.

  • TheMets philosophy

    Wow great move for a month of buck and byrd…is he our best ss prospect?

  • Alex68

    Wait, TOP prospect? Lol… can we stop over hyping these prospects a bit? just a tiny bit less exaggerated

  • metsman

    My favorite position prospect; the poor man’s Pedroia.

  • metsfansince64

    Why don’t you just admit you don’t like any prospect the current regime acquired. Truth is, he is a top prospect – “prospect” being the important word here – doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, but he is highly considered, and not just by the Mets. He represented the Pirates in the Futures Game last year, and was the youngest player to ever play in that game. Most of the independent ranking organizations have him in or near the top ten for Mets prospects going into this season. He’s still only 20 years old, and very young for the league where he is currently hitting very well. He also seems (sss caveat) to have cut down on his strikeouts despite the promotion. And he’s supposedly playing a solid SS as well as 2B, which would raise his value even more. What hype????

  • Nice read David. To think that Herrera is in the Top 10 in hitting and yet has 2 teammates ahead of him you can begin to see why Herrera speaks so highly of the team.

  • Zalmen

    Hi Alax
    How about some Nimmo bashing huh?
    We haven’t heard that in a while have we?

  • jason bay

    Great interview,

    Herrera is really an exciting young player and at only 20 years old in the Fl St League one of the youngest players. The kind of player who can be a long term threat at the top of the order for years to come.

    We need more scouts in Baranquillo and Cartegena

  • Alex68

    If he shuts me up i’ll stay quiet… in the meantime, i got Cecchinni to keep me busy… keep overhyping these kids, that’ll give the FO more time at the helm of this team…

  • jason bay

    It is a little while down the road but the view is getting clearer.

    C – TDA, Plaweicki, Garcia
    1B – Smith, Flores
    2B – Herrera- McNeil
    SS – Rosario, Cecchini, A Reyes, Gordon?
    3B – Wright, Flores, Perez
    LF – Nimmo, King
    CF – Lagares- Biondi, Wilson
    RF – Puello – Zimmer? Davidson?

    Looks like the Mets have a good chance of establishing our own “proven Major Leaguers” in the near future.

  • 3doza33

    If he keeps this up till all star break he might be in AA for the second half and knocking on the door next year to take Murphy’s spot. A 20 year old in AA is pretty impressive! Let’s hope he doesn’t hit a big slump so we can see him move up! Wondering if Nimmo keeps raking if he’s gonna get the bump up too? It’s only been a few weeks but it’s nice to dream.

  • CyYout

    He seems like a nice kid with a lot of talent. I am looking forward to following his development and hopefully seeing him at Citi someday.

  • This kid could be a great jewel in the system. Great job by the front office to get him back in that deal. Some thought Black was the big prize, but Herrera could be a future regular, maybe even better than that. Awesome.

  • CyYout

    If the PTBNL in the Ike trade is a nice lower-level talent, it would follow Sandy’s pattern. d’Arnaud and Syndergaard, Black and Herrera, Thornton and ???.

  • It’s kind of embarrassing that this kid asked us to email him when his interview was posted so he could share it with his family back home, and that they have to read such a comment from you.

  • Hotstreak

    I will say it again Dilson can be a 2b in the Jackie Robinson mold. Bold statement but I believe it. He could be the best thing SA ever did for the mets including Thor who could be out shined by Herrera. This guy right now is more mature than Jimmy Rollins who is a me me type of guy while Dilly is a self-confident respectful guy but will play the game hard to win which we need instead of the type afraid to lose.

  • jason bay

    Bueno suerte Dillson,

    Nosotros miranda Tu en Nueva York rapido.

    Pardon Malo Espanyol.

  • Alex68

    Oh my god… i am done with you guys…. Every prospect sandy’s gotten have been compared to some sort of HOF or a great to good player before arriving to the majors or even seeing if they’ll make it in the minors.. can we stop this crap?
    Jackie Robinson?? Really?!?!!?

  • Alex68

    than why make comments available in this thread?

  • Alex68

    Buena suerte Dilson,

    Nosotros esperamos tu llegada a Nueva York muy pronto

    Perdon, Espanol muy malo.

    Capitan Hindsight

  • Hotstreak

    I hate Sandy but I believe this guy if not Jackie can be Ryne Sanberg,

  • Captain America

    Don’t discount LJ Mazzilli (2B)
    And I hope mets get JaCoby Jones (SS)
    And then draft a positional prospect #1

  • TPT

    nice post JB except one thing there not proven major leaguers till they proved it …names always look better on paper … so lets see out it plays out but i will say it looks hopefull

  • Hotstreak

    Could be.

  • ColoradoMetsFan

    Because there’s critical thinking and then there’s over the top. Yes, comparing him to Jackie Robinson is a bit premature, but every other comment here seems rationale and reasonable. You, on the other hand, come across as hysterical. Please give it a break…

  • Hotstreak

    I said in Jackie Robinson mold. He knows a rookie has to show respect which he did in Futures game. But he plays to win. Do I think he can contend to be batting champ and hit .342, maybe but yes its premature as he has to show more in his development which so far is real nice. Again comparing a prospect like Marve Thronberry to Mickey Mantel is dicy and maybe foolish. But that is the nature of a prospect. Very few are sure things. On the other hand there are the Mike Piazza’s.

  • AndyB

    I think he kind of reminds me of Babe Ruth.

  • Avery Decker

    Great writeup David!

  • Sunshine

    And Lastings Milledge, Alay Soler, Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Brad Holt, Reese Havens and Ike Davis WEREN’T over-hyped?

  • Sunshine

    Because people should be reasonably expected to act human…

  • gameball

    I applaud your enthusiasm, and I too am liking the kid’s ability and development, but unless he has a 30lb, 3″ growth spurt in his 20s, he doesn’t project as a power guy in the bigs.

  • I really dont feel its an exaggeration with Herrera. Now is he a kid that can impact the roster today, no, that is obvious, but he has the tools and so far in each level he has continued to develop and get better. In the lower levels he was hitting home runs, but now as he has moved up, he understands that it takes more than that to be productive, so he is focusing on other aspects of his game to be that much better. He is a confident young man, and only 20 years old. The Mets need a strong farm system, because they are not going to spend the money to bring in quality young guys, but everyone has to start some place and who knows, with a few chips we have in the system, the Mets might strike gold. What is the saying “Ya Gotta Believe” LOL

  • NYM86

    Uggla isn’t tall and he doesn’t seem to have a problem.

  • Flatbush0460

    Some players he acquired he simply misread, and mistakes or flyers he took out on players didn’t pan out. But when he makes a good move you gotta give the man his due. Picking this kid up along with Black for two players not in our future plans was a flat out great trade. I’m not drinking Sandy’s Kool Aid or nothing, but this kid has some pop, hits for average, has speed and is a good defender. That makes the trade worth the the gamble. Saying everything he he does is garbage is as bad as saying everything he touches is gold. In this case he made a good deal. Suck it up up and give him his props dude

  • Flatbush0460

    Topic for thought. If Sandy worked for the Yankees with their budget would he be a better GM in your view? I guess my point is to what extent do the Wilpons tie his hands?

  • ColoradoMetsFan

    No disrespect intended. I took liberties and did not fully reflect your take. That said, It would certainly be incredible if Dilson is in the mold of Jackie Robinson…

  • gameball

    Uggla? Dan Uggla has at least 50 lbs on Dilson Herrera.

  • igotadose

    Is he really 5’10” and 150lbs? In the pictures posted, he looks pretty small. Maybe predicting Eddie Guidel is better than Sandberg/Rollins/… Seriously, I can see why he was drafted to play shortstop, I’d say he’s more like 5’8 and 140

  • Hotstreak

    I have a lot of respect for you and understand why you wrote it. Yes to say a low minor league will be a HOF is ridiculous. However character wise there is a balance between not stepping on toes when you are the youngest around (or first black player) but playing hard to win and working to improve and believing you can be the best is my take on Dilson. I hope his parents show him my comment so he knows we think he has a ton of POTENTIAL which I hope our farm system can develop into as a minimum a good player on a winning and contending Met team for many years to come. REALIZED POTENTIAL is the key..

  • Chuck

    And how much did Uggla weigh at the comparable age?

  • jason bay

    Get over it CL,

    Every exciting prospect on every team gets comped to someone.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    Alfredo Reyes, who’s in Rookie Ball.

  • jason bay

    Alfredo Reyes

  • jason bay

    True enough TPT,

    Some will, some won’t. Others not mentioned might step up too.

    Maybe a Reynolds, Evans, Taijeron, Lawley, Stuart, Cruzado…..

    The key is to have many chances.

  • jason bay

    LOL

    And Gracias Pollo de Poco

  • AlexHZ

    I think dustin pedroia is a nice comparison.

  • That would be awesome. Rubin said a while back the PTBNL might be Neil Kozikowski, their 2013 8th Round pick, and a kid apparently the Mets were really high on.

  • Hotstreak

    Flatbush0460: SA as a GM did some good but for present 2010-2013 was rebuilding and lied. He extendedDW while rebuilding when three years ago with a trade of Reyes we would be set by now. Yes the real villains are the Wilpons who dictated DW staying here. DW in decline when we are finally rebuilt maybe next year.

  • Hotstreak

    Distant but some blood relationship. I see their point though.on a lot but not all issues..

  • jason bay

    Alfredo Reyes will be a guy to keep an eye on in Kingsport this year.

  • Sach

    Thanks David. I always like these in-depth write-ups and interviews of prospects.

  • Mike Lloyd

    I’m no “kool aid” drinker. Sometimes big picture is important however. Byrd and Buck weren’t going to be here…You have to be impressed with this kids’ play and work ethic. My hat tip goes to the Mets minor league scouts who were impressed enough with a Single A player to recommend his acquisition. The Pirates may live to regret the long term repercussions of dealing a high upside talent like Herrera. The kid seems to translate his limited physical capabilities well. Sometimes it’s more impressive to be just a good ballplayer. Herrera is a good ballplayer.

  • agetting

    honestly…and i’m not trying to be a Debbie downer but I read a chat recently where scouts thought Herrera “might” be an everyday player but most likely a utility/bench guy. They aren’t THAT impressed

  • Peter S

    Going to be very interesting to see who comes out of this system in the next couple years. It seems the Mets are building a lot of depth.

  • Mike Lloyd

    His height and weight. In today’s game…he’s small. In sighting examples from the past-don’t forget Harrelson or even Freddy Patek. But he’s smallish in today’s game-relax. He’s good. No need to get upset. I complimented the kid-and as he puts weight on and continues playing he may end up as very good player.