Dilson Herrera, one of two players the Mets received in return for dealing Marlon Byrd to the Pirates, is an intriguing prospect.
Herrera, 19, could well develop into a high-average, power-hitting second baseman with speed. Herrera -- who came to the Mets along with promising pitcher Victor Black -- is now ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Mets' system.
Watching Herrera, even though he has played third base and shortstop in his career, it seems he is best-suited as a second baseman. In 2010, the Pirates signed Herrera as an international free agent from Cartagena, Colombia. He has made tremendous strides every year in parts of three professional seasons.
At age 17, Herrera had an outstanding beginning to his career in the Venezuelan Summer League. He hit .308 that season in 260 plate appearances. Included in Herrera's 66 hits were two home runs, five triples and 19 doubles. He drove in 27 runs and stole 16 bases. Making excellent contact, Herrera struck out only 40 times.
In 2012, Herrera led the Gulf Coast Rookie League in extra-base hits and runs scored, once again showing the high quality of his offense.
This season, Herrera spent most his time at Class A West Virginia in the South Atlantic League. He hit .265. In 479 plate appearances, Herrera hit 11 home runs and drove in 27 runs. He had 11 stolen bases. In Herrera's first seven games for the Mets' Class A affiliate in Savannah, he collected six hits and three stolen bases in 19 at-bats while scoring six times and driving in four runs.
While Herrera was a switch-hitter at the time of his signing, he has concentrated solely on hitting right-handed. And instead of playing third base, he has now shifted to playing second base exclusively.
Herrera was a member of the World Team in this past year's All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York. He batted once without getting a hit.
Herrera has quick hands at the plate. He also has quick feet out of the batter's box and in the field. Herrera has enough speed to become a legitimate stolen-base threat.
But it is Herrera's power potential as a gap hitter and eventually a home run hitter that adds to his value as a prospect. Observers are surprised that so much raw power can be generated from his 5-foot-10, 150-pound frame. Herrera is slightly built and can't afford to lose weight in the heat of a summer season. He needs every ounce of muscle on his body.
Defensively, Herrera fits well as a good-hitting second baseman with range and a quick first step. As opposed to having to make strong, quick throws from deep in the hole at shortstop, his arm strength fits best at second base. Herrera will be an average second baseman with the ability to make all the routine plays.
The arrival of Black and Herrera bolstered the Mets' farm system. The deal with the Pirates can return dividends with the right-handed Black pitching out of the bullpen and Herrera taking his place at the top of the batting order with good pop in his bat and usable speed.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less