Q and A – Dilson Herrera, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

 Good morning.

Greg B said –

          Mack -

I put this as a comment in your Saturday post, but deleted it because it was late in the day and I wanted to see your thoughts...

Regarding Herrera, 2b, & Future leadoff hitter:

I think speed is not what should be the most important factor in being a lead off hitter.

More important to me is how a player hits with no one on base ahead of them. Are they able to be the spark that starts things moving?

Can they run the bases well? Are they a contact hitter able to avoid the strikeout?

To me these things are more important as a leadoff hitter.

Can Herrera do these things? Does he have these skills and mindset?

If so.....GREAT!

If not..... Granderson ' s replacement plan becomes all the more difficult.
The next leadoff hitter is not coming from the C, 3b, LF positions.

1b would mean not only moving on from Duda, but also taking an entirely different approach to 1b that is traditionally more of a rbi/power position. I guess it could be done, but I'm not even sure where you would find a first baseman with the appropriate leadoff skills and mindset.

CF seems unlikely if Lagares is in center or Cespedes.

That leaves SS, 2b and RF (When Granderson leaves)

If the replacement is a rf... again, similar to 1st base, it seems a different approach than most rightfielders.....but more possible than 1st base. It would require having to wait until Granderson is gone though, so there is less opportunity to pretest their performance in fill in situations.
So...that leaves 2b and SS.

If Herrera or Flores or Murphy are determined to be the team's 2nd baseman, then that leaves only SS.

I caution an eye toward a total team construction is needed. The 2b and SS positions should not be filled based solely on who hits or fields better.

More importantly, a leadoff hitting replacement should be found at one of these positions first.

The other position is dependent upon this decision and can be filled afterwards.

          Mack – Greg, thanks for the question.

As you know, I had Dilson Herrera as my number one Mets prospect… a year ago. That’s how high I am on him.

As for whether or not he’s a potential major league lead-off hitter, let me answer it this way… I don’t know and I never will know until he gets to play an entire season as a starter in the majors. Don’t give him 50 at-bats and expect a miracle here. Make him your starting second baseman and begin him as either the seventh or eighth hitter. Hell, even David Wright started as a seventh hitter.

I think he could potentially be the Mets 2017 leadoff hitter bases on the criteria you outlined. He’s no Jose Reyes, but neither is anyone else in the organization.

You could sign Denard Span but he probably is only going to be looking for a one year deal so he can build back his stat line after being injured for much of the past season with a bad back.

Greg, I don’t know how to answer your question for the 2017 season. You know I’m a big fan of improving the infield defense and I think that, and an additional quality middle reliever, are the next targets for this team. I’m a big fan of Starlin Castro. But it looks like the Mets are going after Ian Desmond this off-season. Sure, he had a sup-par BA this past season (.233), but he did hit 88 home runs in the past four seasons and he’s the best shortstop available out there.

Joseph J. Ruffino asked -

I am disturbed by the likes of you and other  supposed baseball experts having so little understanding of players and potentials, achievement etc.  Kirk is an individual you will claim to have had amble opportunity  to prove himself.  Yes and no!  He plays good number of games or at bats, the hit a down spell. Don’t play him sit him on the bench and then use him in unimportant pinch hitting situation with no results, or call him back because the other team brings in a lefty, so he does not get the plate experience and you lose him as a defensive replacement.  I would not call these events good opportunity to evaluate a player. Collins, in my opinion is not the type of person that will help to develop a players confidence in his ability. In a fairly brief period of time this season Kirk was hitting over 300, with games including 3 hrs. and , 4 for 4, and 2 doubles  Of course there was that pinch hit homer to beat Washington then for one reason or other , not the lost time do a back or neck problem rarely used again  In 2012 Kirk started very good then set and  lost time too an  injury and never resumed as he had started. 2013/14 where years he had some good spots but never achieve overall consistency at the plate primarily because of Collins handling of him fielding always sparkled in all 3 outfield positions. In 2016 Conforto should be an everyday player, so should Granderson as long as he plays well with occasion rest days.  Center can be split between Kirk and Legaras  The Mets should be concentrating on Short and 3rd in case Wright goes down again.  Flores is really a 2nd baseman.  If Murphy says by by who plays 3rd if Wright can’t?

Joe Ruffino

PS I believe I am a little older than you, having Pee Wee Reese and Pete Reiser  living across the street from me in 41 and popping beers with Duke Snider in the early 50’s in my old Bay Ridge Brooklyn neighborhood.

           Mack – First of all, thank you for your   question.

Secondly, you honor me by saying I am a ‘so-called baseball expert’. I’m just a Mets fan that decided to start a Mets blog about the minor league teams.

As for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, I understand your frustration. I’ve seen so many minor league baseball players that were never given what I always said were ‘a fair shot… at least 300 at-bats in one season’.

I try to remind people that there are ‘billions of people on this planet but there are only 30 first basemen’. The odds of getting yourself a fulltime job in major baseball is slim and, frankly, I think Captain Kirk may have seen his time past, both in the major leagues and as a Met.

I too believe that the inner infield and additional relievers should be top priority and, because of that, Nieuwenhuis may actually get a shot to platoon with Juan Lagares. Will it happen is still a question mark at this point. If I was a betting man, and Lagares returns to being at 100%, I think he will first get a shot at playing full time with Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, while Nieuwenhuis’s future on the Mets would only be as a utility outfielder and pinch hitter.

I also share your concern on who would replace an injured David Wright if Daniel Murphy departs. Wilmer Flores has played third, but it isn’t a perfect solution. You got me on this one too.

Lastly, it’s nice to talk to someone that’s older than I am. There’s less of that going around every year. Having a beer with the Duke must have been the hoot. My brother would give an arm to have done that.

And lastly...

remember to send your Q and A questions to:  macksmets@gmail.com  


Thomas Brennan said...

To your Kirk questioner, his problem has been (in my opinion, which has been equated in worth to a hill of beans), and still is, the strikeout.

He is a big, strong dude, and could be another Chris Davis, but has never showed that kind of home run propensity for whatever reason. Time is running short for him to show he is worthy of an OF platoon, although frankly, his #s against righty pitching are not all that bad. Of course, Brandon Nimmo helps out in that regard by playing poorly when he is supposed to be an heir apparent in the OF. Billy Beane once thought he was an heir apparent.

Matt den Dekker figured out how to decrease the Ks - if Kirk also can cut them by say 20%, he could be worth keeping and a valuable 4th OF.

I too love Dilson Herrera. I hope the little guy becomes a big star. whether he becomes a consummate lead off hitter, only time will tell, as he will be only 22 in 2016.

Alexander Han said...

I was drawing up my wish list and was soon coming bup with Denard Span, Jerry Blevins and maybe Ian Desmond. What are we, the Washington Nationals?

Michael S. said...

Desmond - bad, bad idea

Ernest Dove said...

Id rather have Wilmer at SS then Desmond

Mack Ade said...

Michael S./Ernest -

I can't argue with you about Desmond vs. Flores.

I agree that Flores actually has posted better defensive stats than Desmond, but I just wanted to point out:

1. him home runs over four years

2. many 'in the know' feel the Mets are looking for an upgrade at this position

3.Desmond is the best available unless you trade for someone

Michael S. said...

I'd rather just wait for Cheech than take 'the best FA'. I would've wanted Desmond a couple of years ago but he adds to the deficiencies we're trying to overcome.

If the Mets want to upgrade, they're a win-now team and have to investigate the trade market.

bob gregory said...

How about Hechavarria from the Marlins?

Michael S. said...

If the Mets are going to let Murphy go, I'd make a move the other way and call Cleveland about Kipnis. He's a solid defender, leadoff, LH, and pushes Grandy down the lineup. I'd rather go for an established 2B than just hand the job over to Herrera, talented as he may be. This team's window just opened and they're no longer in a position to hope it doesn't take Dilson 2 years to 'get it' at the MLB level.

There just aren't many real upgrades at SS available. There isn't much talent around baseball to begin with and the ones who would be an upgrade are stars who would never be dealt. I'd go with Flores until Cecchini is ready for the call. If Gavin can't hack it they can always fall back on Wilmer.

LongTimeFan said...

Niewenhuiss has slow bat and odd swing mechanics, will continue to hit poorly unless there's significant overhaul. All the playing time in the world isn't going to change his results as long as that faulty foundation continues.

He's a good defensive outfielder but also out of minor league options which leaves no 25-man roster spot for him. Not when the Mets have to carry Cuddyer and are looking to sign the likes of Fowler, Span, etc.

Regarding shortstop, the Flores-Tejada combo was last in the majors in DRS, Flores has no wheels, is a base running liability, and Tejada, at best, has average footspeed. Instead of having footspeed at shortstop for stolen base and other scoring advantages, Mets have base running negatives.

Mets need athletic upgrade either from trade or short term free agent deal - or call up Matt Reynolds as platoon stop gap until Cecchini ready, trade one of Flores or Tejada. I would go with Tejada & Reynolds, trade Flores or get someone from the outside. I choose speed, stolen base threat and contact - OBP - over flores's power that's left field only.

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