There’s one very necessary reason why New York Mets second-baseman Dilson Herrera needs to work out in the long-run for this club.
By Robby Sabo
Look around the New York Mets clubhouse and tell me what you see.
There is phenomenal pitching. So young and fantastic that some are already dubbing them the “Phenom-Five.”
There’s also some power. Granted, being tied for 16th in Major League Baseball with a total of 65 home runs doesn’t warrant juggernaut status. Still though, there is a hint of power in the lineup.
What’s desperately missing from this unit is the necessary presence of speed.
Juan Lagares has not shown enough offensively (.286 on base percentage) to assume the position. Past Grandy and Lagares there is nobody else Collins could even dream of putting in the No. 1 spot.
That is, unless second-baseman Dilson Herrera develops.
Herrera is a 21-year old energetic player that could bail out Sandy Alderson in one respect. Alderson – a classic Money-Ball philosopher – believes in pitching and power. Pointing to Flores’ 10 home runs and 33 runs batted in at the short-stop position is a perfect case and point.
He’ll live with the defensive deficiencies from Flores (10 errors and a slew of headaches) if he keeps knocking it out of the park.
The underlining problem here is two-fold.
One, this team’s heart and soul lies in the starting rotation. And two, CitiField is a place where power goes to die.
So, having a strong defensive-base (especially up the middle) is a very necessary attribute the Mets require.
They already have this ingredient with Lagares roaming center-field. They also have this at the current moment with Herrera at second-base.
Living with Flores at short is not an issue if Herrera can continue to develop.
His numbers right now are less than spectacular. Nobody will write home about a .200 batting average, .289 on base percentage, two home runs, four runs batted in, and two stolen bases.
At the same time, the kid will need time to navigate his way at the plate.
Take today’s finish to the suspended game against the Cincinnati Reds for example.
Herrera got on base to leadoff the bottom of the 13th. Granderson, the Mets hottest hitter at the moment, promptly hit a scorcher just out of the reach of Brandon Phillips.
Herrera’s heads-up base-running won the game today for New York.
Not only did he make the correct read on the Granderson line-drive, his energetic and aggressive ways forced a first to third play that set the Mets up with runners at the corners with nobody out.
Anybody else in the lineup would have stopped at second-base.
THE SPEED, DEFENSE AND ENERGY THAT HERRERA BRINGS TO THE TABLE IS SOMETHING THIS CLUB HASN’T QUITE SEEN SINCE JOSE REYES.
Then, with Ruben Tejada up, Herrera wisely held at third after shortstop Eugenio Suarez muffed it. The reason it was so smart was because Phillips backed up the play perfectly and would’ve gunned out Herrera by plenty.
Thanks to the heads up play, Duda ended the game with the next at-bat.
The speed, defense and energy that Herrera brings to the table is something this club hasn’t quite seen since Jose Reyes. And it’s more than needed to round out a plotting, station to station lineup that doesn’t catch the ball all that well.
The return of Daniel Murphy this week will surely complicate things for Herrera.
Hopefully though, Alderson and Collins give the kid playing time to find himself, realizing his skill-set is a perfect fit with the rest of the lineup.
The Mets don’t run much, nor do they play a ton of small-ball. The reason has everything to do with their personnel. Herrera can change some of that.
Moving Flores to second is not the answer. Herrera at second is.
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