Last August the Mets sent catcher John Buck and outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Vic Black and second baseman Dilson Herrera, a trade that benefited both sides with the Pirates getting the best of Byrd in their playoff run and the Mets working Black into their bullpen plans and Herrera into their future infield plans.
Even though Black has made his impact known already on the big club, the biggest part of the deal has to be the amazing talent that Herrera has showcased. He is only 20 years old, but he plays the game like a veteran, poised and under great control. For a young man that is just 5’10” and 150 lbs, he has consistently shown that he can get on base, hit the ball with power and drive in runs.
After coming over to the Mets in 2013, Herrera was sent to Savannah and helped the Sand Gnats win the SAL Championship. This season he started out with Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets and in the first half he hit .307/.355/.410, with 16 doubles, three home runs, 23 RBI’s, and 14 stolen bases in 283 at bats.
His great play in St. Lucie earned him a promotion to Double A Binghamton where he has not let up and currently has a five game hitting streak while batting .333 (33 for 99), with three home runs and 21 RBI’s in 24 games. Since the promotion on June 19th, he has hit safely in 20 of 24 games, has eight multi-hit games and an 11-game hit streak mixed in.
“He’s aggressive. He’s always hunting for that fastball early in the count,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez tells Tim Healey of MLB.com. “And if he gets it and he feels like it’s good for him to drive, he goes after that.”
“He’s starting to control the strike zone a little more in Binghamton. He’s shown surprising power for his size and age. … His athleticism, his body type [allows him to hit for power]. He’s aggressive and generates a lot of bat speed,” says Sandy Alderson.
The Colombian native is also versatile as he has played both middle infield positions, and even though he has logged in more time at second base, his range and strong arm has allowed him to play both extremely well. He was signed as a third baseman by the Pirates at the age of 16 and switched over primarily to second base. But with the Mets, shortstop has been a position that he has started to play and has held his own.
“If you play short, you can play anywhere on the infield,” Herrera tells MLB.com with B-Mets hitting coach Luis Rivera serving as translator. “I like shortstop more, because it’s harder to play. I move my feet more and take charge of more stuff. It’s more responsibility to play short.”
According to Lopez, the decision on where to play Herrera will be determined on his arm, but Alderson has a different take on what could happen with the young prospect. “Ultimately, from my standpoint, the bat plays. If the guy can hit, let’s find him a position,” said the GM.
Herrera who is ranked #9 in the Mets system on MLB.com’s 2014 Prospect Watch has seen his stock soar this season and that only makes the Byrd trade that much better on the Mets end.
Thoughts by David C.
I have witnessed first hand his talents and I am very impressed with what he brings to the table. Standing next to him, he looks like he can be my little brother, but when on the field he can play with the best of them. Herrera is a very special player that when finally given the opportunity he will not disappoint. It’s selfish for me to say let’s see him take a stab at Vegas this season, but in due time if the Mets hold off until 2015, Herrera will get his chance and continue to impress. He told me recently that he has one goal and that is to work hard and make the majors and in his mind, it will become a reality and from what I have witnessed, I truly believe him. He is a very determined young man with a whole lot of talent on his side.