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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Eleven

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What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, June 16th to June 22nd?

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Houston Astros
Dilson Herrera
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Hitter of the Week

Dilson Herrera

2019 Season: 60 G, 193 AB, .259/.354/.585, 50 H, 15 2B, 0 3B, 15 HR, 23 BB, 63 K, 8/11 SB, .296 BABIP

Week: 6 G, 22 AB, .455/.520/1.000, 10 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 2 BB, 9 K, 0/1 SB, .700 BABIP

Dilson Herrera first joined the Mets organization in August 2013, when he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates, along with player to be named Vic Black, in exchange for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. The Mets had a pretty good farm system around this time, and he was ranked as high as fourth by Amazin’ Avenue, in 2015, behind Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Brandon Nimmo. His stock cooled a bit, but he retained a lot of value, and on August 1, 2016, the Mets traded Dilson along with 2015 third-round draft pick Max Wotell to the Reds in exchange for Jay Bruce.

His time in the Reds system wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly good either. He finished out the 2016 season hitting .266/.372/.422 for the Louisville Bats, Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate. He hit .264/.312/.397 in 68 games for the Bats in 2017 before having his season end prematurely due to shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs. He began the 2018 season recovering from surgery with the Daytona Tortugas, Cincinnati’s High-A affiliate and was promoted back to Triple-A in May. After hitting .297/.367/.465 in 50 games, his contract was selected by the Reds, and Herrera was promoted to the major leagues. He didn’t exactly impress when given the opportunity, and hit .184/.268/.414 in 97 at-bats over the remainder of the 2018 season. The Reds released him at the beginning November, and the Mets pounced quickly, signing him to a minor league contract for the 2019 season at the end of the month.

As crazy as it sounds, Dilson is still only 25, and as we’ve seen this year, he still has some more in the tank. While one might be quick to attribute his success to the new, “juiced” Triple-A ball, it is just as likely that Herrera’s success can be traced back to his health; after years of dealing with nagging shoulder problems, he may finally be fully healthy. Regardless of the reason for his success, he has been hitting well in Syracuse, with the ability to play second and third, as well as left field.

I don’t think anyone could have necessarily predicted that Dilson would be doing as well as he is right now, but wouldn’t be nice if he was doing this in the major leagues, and the Mets still had Ross Adolph and Luis Santana in the system? JD Davis is doing petty good in his role, he’s hitting .276/.342/.464 in 181 at bats, but I don’t think that anyone could have necessarily predicted he’d be doing as well as he is right now either. I think there’s a pretty good shot Dilson could replicate that batting line, and Ross Adolph and Luis Santana would still be in the system. For what it’s worth, Adolph- who was ranked the Mets’ eleventh top prospect this past winter- is hitting .227/.358/.433 with 6 homers and 8 steals in 62 games for the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Low-A affiliate. Santana- who was ranked the Mets’ thirteenth top prospect- had an injury delay the start of his season, but was assigned to the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks for 18 games before being sent to a more experience-appropriate assignment with the Short-A Tri-City Valley Cats and is hitting .242/.338/.290 in 19 games between the two.

Pitcher of the Week

Michel Otanez

2019 Season: 11 G (11 GS), 66.2 IP, 57 H, 27 R, 24 ER (3.24 ERA), 18 BB, 57 K, .290 BABIP

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, .111 BABIP

The Mets signed Michel Otanez on the first day of the 2016-2017 international signing period, coming to terms with him for just $35,000 because, while the stuff was good, he was an older prospect- with a birthday on July 3rd, he turned 19 literally the next day. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League, the right-hander posted a 4.64 ERA in 21.1 innings over five starts, allowing 23 hits, walking 6, and striking out 21. After the season ended, he underwent Tommy John surgery, missing the entirety of the 2017 season. He returned to the mound in 2018, coming stateside and being assigned to the GCL Mets. Making seven starts and pitching out of the bullpen four times, Otanez posted a 7.64 ERA in 35.1 innings, allowing 42 hits, walking 24, and striking out 33.

At 6’3”, 215 pounds, Otanez has a solid pitching frame. Before his Tommy John surgery, his fastball sat in the mid-90s, reportedly topping out as high as 97 MPH. We’ll be getting more reports about him as the season goes on, but depending on how you want to look at it, the glass can be half full or half empty. If you want to be optimistic regarding Otanez’ future, he has the physicality and fastball to be a solid pitcher and time will tell. If you want to be pessimistic regarding his future, he’s a soon-to-be-22-year-old in Kingsport who is still very rough and raw as a pitcher and simply missed too much important developmental time.