The New York Mets promoted second base prospect Dilson Herrera to the major league roster today, replacing Daniel Murphy who has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a calf injury. Herrera was completing an outstanding minor league season that saw him thrive in Double-A as the youngest player in the Eastern League. Here are some thoughts about what to expect from the newest Metropolitan.
Herrera was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Colombia in 2010, earning a $220,000 bonus. He thrived in the 2011 Venezuelan Summer League (.308/.413/.472 in 65 games), then more than held his own on promotion to the Gulf Coast League in 2012 (.281/.341/.482). He was traded to the Mets in the Marlon Byrd/John Buck/Vic Black trade late that summer.
He didn't have a terrific season in 2013, hitting .265/.330/.421 with 37 walks and 110 strikeouts in 423 at-bats for Savannah in the South Atlantic League, although his overall production was still above-average for the context (wRC+112). His bat improved in 2014 however, as he hit .307/.355/.410 (wRC+120) in 309 plate appearances for High-A St. Lucie, followed by an outstanding .340/.406/.560 (wRC+ 165) in 278 plate appearances after being promoted to Double-A Binghamton.
Born March 3, 1994, Herrera is listed at 5-10, 150, although observers who have seen him in person say he looks more like 5-8, 170. He's strong for his size either way and has no problems driving the ball, maintaining his production against advanced pitching this summer despite his extreme youth. His power is to the pull side primarily, although when he's going well he can take pitches the opposite way. While not a walk machine, he has a decent eye for the zone and doesn't strike out an excessive amount. He has reduced his whiff rate this year and the results are obvious.
Herrera has above-average speed and should be good for 15 steals a year if given a green light. Scouts aren't wild about his defense due to stiff actions; this is not a future Gold Glove player, although his defense at second base has improved over the last two years. He can play shortstop in an emergency but lacks the range or instincts to play there regularly.
Given his youth, offensive production, and good-enough defense, Herrera profiles as a regular second baseman, although there is talk that he could take a super-utility role as well. Up until now, Herrera looked like an option late in 2015 or 2016, but now has a chance to make a positive impression in September and jump that timetable.
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