Dilson Herrera’s 2014 season was a catapult ride starting in Hi-A, St. Lucie and ending in the major leagues with New York. Not exactly the projected path for a low-ceiling, "grinder" 2B prospect, but Herrera developed quicker than any would have expected and even showed us that his ceiling could be higher than originally anticipated. Acquired by the Mets along with Vic Black from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Marlon Byrd and John Buck, Dilson Herrera signed out of Colombia back in 2010. Lightly regarded as a prospect due to his 5’10" stature and inability to play SS, Herrera has always been tagged with a league-average ceiling. Heading into 2015, Dilson Herrera has become an intriguing target for both dynasty and re-draft leagues alike.
The minor league stats for Herrera never jumped off the page at you, but he was always in peripheral consideration for organizational Top 10 lists thanks to always playing in leagues far more advanced for his age. There isn’t a gaping weakness in his profile, but there really isn’t a strength to bet on either. Scouts consistently rated him with 50 Hit, 50 Power, 50 Speed, and 50 Field - a true average-across-the-board prospect. Then 2014 came along and Herrera unleashed a vengeance on minor league pitchers and vaulted himself up to AA and in a position for an MLB call-up. Between Hi-A and AA, Herrera slashed .323/.379/.479 with 13 HRs and 23 SBs. He showed a mature approach at the plate drawing 47 walks compared to just 96 strikeouts in 128 games. All of this while just at age 20 and his first full year in a new organization. Herrera did receive a brief call up to New York to cap the season off, but after just 18 games was shut down due to a quadricep injury.
As I mentioned before, Herrera is quickly pinned as a "grinder" or in other words, the least exciting type of fantasy player. 2014 proved that he could be something a little more. Herrera has a longer swing thanks to a higher than normal load position, and doesn’t have the elite bat speed required to compensate. This leaves scouts thinking he will struggle with velocity at the highest level. He does have incredible feel for the barrel and is capable of mid-swing adjustments which can help cover for the slow start to his swing. The result is consistent, hard contact that doesn’t drop your jaw, but more than gets the job done. Herrera isn’t a burner and his speed rates out at about average, but he’s a smart runner and has put up double digit steal totals every year in the minors. I can’t stress the age 20 component of Herrera’s profile enough. There is still room for growth and adjustments to Herrera’s game, and he’s already proven it at every level he’s been at. The scouting reports just don’t seem to do Herrera justice.
Dilson Herrera’s immediate future appears to be in AAA thanks to Daniel Murphy’s presence at 2B. Murphy is on 1 year/$8MM contract so he’s a potential trade piece that could open up a spot for Herrera. Unfortunately, the Mets look to be competitive in the NL East this year and Murphy should be a big contributor for them. It would be nice if Herrera could fill the Mets gaping hole at SS, but he doesn’t have the raw athleticism or the arm to cover the position. As a result, Herrera will have to wait and see what opportunities arise once the season starts. 2016 the position looks to be all his, so he’s a great short-term investment for dynasty owners. The ceiling for Herrera is something like a .280 AVG with 10-12 HRs, 15-20 SBs, and a great OBP. He looks the part of a future starter in all formats and yet still goes unheralded as a prospect falling outside most Top 100 lists.
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