The Mets, spiraling toward their sixth consecutive losing season, lost one of their best hitters Thursday night when second baseman Daniel Murphy went on the disabled list because of a right calf injury.
In his stead, the Mets reached down to Double-A Binghamton to call up Dilson Herrera, part of the return for sending Marlon Byrd to Pittsburgh on Aug. 27, 2013. Righthanded reliever Vic Black also came to New York in that trade.
Herrera, 20, will get the majority of playing time as Murphy’s injury allows the Mets to see if Herrera is a viable option as soon as 2015. That would enable the Mets to cash in one of their more marketable—and expensive—players for more assets.
When the Pirates signed Herrera out of Colombia in 2010, they used him at third base in the Venezuelan Summer League but shifted him to second when he reached the States in 2012. A high-energy player, Herrera is working through the kinks of a still-new-to-him position, as some managers who saw him in 2013 in the South Atlantic League felt his actions were stiff.
Like Murphy, where Herrera really makes his bones is at bat. A line drive, gap-to-gap hitter, the righthanded Herrera slashed .323/.379/.479 at high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton before his callup.
Evaluators tagged him for average power and he has 51 extra-base hits this season among his 169 knocks, including 33 doubles. Just 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, Herrera generates his extra-base pop with super-quick hands and above-average bat speed, combined with an aggressive swing. Herrera uses his core and strong lower half to gain leverage and make hard contact.
WHAT TO EXPECT
With the rosters expanding Monday, it follows that Herrera will remain with the club the remainder of the season, but it’s unclear how much playing time he’d get when Murphy returns. If Herrera hits as he has and performs creditably, at the very least the Mets will have an option to trade Murphy.
Given playing time, Herrera could boost a fantasy team’s average and provide some power. He’s not a burner but an efficient stolen-base threat (65 of 90 in his minor league career). In fantasy simulation formats that factor defensive ability, Herrera might not be much of upgrade from Murphy.