While fans wait anxiously for Spring Training to begin, it’s always a fun exercise to create some excitement for players that may have an impact in the not so distant future. Part of the fun of watching early Spring games is getting a chance to see some of your favorite top prospects getting a chance to play several innings in a Major League Spring Training game.
While the Mets strength has been developing starting pitching, and the great number of flamethrowers they’ve produced in their system via the draft of through trade, the Mets now have some offensive firepower on the horizon to look forward to. While several of their highly touted prospects are in the lower levels of the Mets system still (Lindsay, Becerra, Carpio, Ramos), some appear much closer to potentially having a role on this team sooner rather than later.
One such name that fans have been familiar with since the trade that brought him to the Mets in 2013 is second baseman Dilson Herrera. Herrera did make a brief appearance in 2014, appearing in 18 games for the Mets at the end of August and into September. Herrera nearly doubled the amount of games played in 2015, appearing in 31 for the Mets at various times during the year to fill in when Daniel Murphy would slide over to third for the injured David Wright.
While Herrera would be sidelined for nearly a month due to fracturing the tip of his middle finger during fielding drills, he would return to Triple A Las Vegas and put up an extremely productive season that should give many Mets fans high hopes for his future.
While playing for a team battling for a postseason berth, Herrera slashed .327/.382/.511 good for a .893 OPS. He flashed some power hitting 11 home runs with 50 RBI in just 81 games played. He also scored 68 runs in that time, a remarkable feat considering the number of games played and a testament to his on base prowess.
His splits from 2015 are also something to highlight. As a right-handed hitter, Herrera mashed lefties to a tune of a 1.072 OPS in 115 plate appearances. Against righties, while Herrera’s robust OPS did drop, it still remained at a respectable .795, and hit 5 of his 11 home runs against them. Not bad for a 21 year-old in Triple A.
And while Vegas is deemed as a hitter’s haven in the minor leagues, the fact that he was 5.7 years younger than the weighted average of Triple A players should speak volumes to the level of his talent.
For fun, I wanted to compare several high profile second baseman and their minor league career stats to that of the young Herrera. I found some interesting numbers along the way:
- Dilson Herrera: 5 seasons 453 games .304/.369/.470 .839 OPS 45 HRs 237 RBI 332 Runs
- Robinson Cano: 6 seasons 493 games .278/.331/.425 .756 OPS 41 HRs 281 RBI 271 Runs
- Dustin Pedroia: 4 seasons 272 games .307/.392/.452 .844 OPS 21 HRs 133 RBI 168 Runs
- Jason Kipnis: 4 seasons 257 games .296/.376/.485 .861 OPS 30 HRs 151 RBI 181 Runs
- Jose Altuve: 5 seasons 382 games .327/.386/.481 .867 OPS 30 HRs 208 RBI 276 Runs
The four All Stars mentioned all became regular fixtures in their lineups between the ages of 22-25 years old, which bodes well for Herrera who will be turning 22 in the beginning of March. Thee numbers represented are just a fun projection of what Herrera might turn out to be, as many had very similar numbers to his. Of course, it’s always a hit or miss with prospects and how they adjust to the Major Leagues, but scouts have raved so far about Herrera and his line drive, gap-to-gap hitting abilities.
With Neil Walker signed through only 2016, Herrera seems the logical choice to be his successor come the Opening Day 2017. Mets fans should expect to see Herrera get extended looks this spring, with hopes that we are all watching the next second baseman of the future for our Mets.