Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#16 - Dilson Herrera
Measurables: 5'10, 150
Bats: R, Throws: R
Acquired: IFA, 2010
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked
Similar to the 22nd prospect on this list, Willy Garcia, Dilson Herrera was overshadowed by Luis Heredia in the Pirates 2010 international free agent class despite earning a six-figure bonus. Herrera, who signed as a 16 year-old out of Colombia, was lauded for a an advanced feel for hitting and a strong hit tool and potential for some pop despite his small 5'10 frame. Because he did not sign until August in 2010, Herrera did not play for any of the Pirates formal organizations in 2010.
The Pirates decided against sending Herrera stateside for his first professional season. Instead, played in 65 games in the Venezuelan Summer League. At the ripe age of 17, Herrera performed well, putting up a .308/.413/.472 line in 260 plate appearances. Herrera excelled in basically every offensive aspect possible. First, his lone flaw was getting caught stealing 8 times in 24 attempts. However, other than that Herrera hit for average, hit for power, and displayed advanced plate discipline for such a young player. Overall, he put up a .164 ISO and a 12.3% walk rate while only striking out 15.4% of the time. One other issue was Herrera's defense. Despite being signed as a shortstop, Herrera was forced to move to both second and third base in his first pro season.
Considering Herrera's signing pedigree and performance in his first pro season, it was no surprise that the Pirates brought him stateside for the 2012 season. Put on the GCL roster, Herrera picked up right where he left off the previous season. In 53 games at the GCL level, Herrera received 227 plate appearances. He put up a .281/.341/.482 tripleslash with those plate appearances.
From 2011 to 2012, Herrera's batting average dropped a bit and his plate discipline dropped off a fair amount. His walk rate dropped from 12.3% to 7.9% and his strikeout rate spiked from 15.4% to 18.1%. Overall, Herrera's plate discipline worsened from the VSL to the GCL, but considering the young Colombian was only 18, his plate discipline numbers were acceptable. However, despite the slight decrease in those two areas of his offensive game, Herrera stood out for his increased power production. Herrera slugged 7 home runs at the GCL level, leading his team. His ISO calculated out to .214, a very strong number.
Herrera received a late season promotion to play for the State College Spikes where he hit .321/.345/.536 in a very small sample size of 29 plate appearances. Herrera added one home run. The small sample size shows basically nothing, but it's encouraging that he wasn't totally overwhelmed by the jump. Moving forward, Herrera is one of several very young prospects in the 10-20 range on my top 30 list that simply ooze potential. Right now, Herrera draws comparisons to Alen Hanson, the breakout sensation of this past year who likewise had a strong GCL campaign in his 18 year-old season back in 2011. Like Hanson, Herrera has a small frame, good bat speed, and should start his 19 year-old season playing for the West Virginia Power. Unlike Hanson, Herrera best-case scenario defensive home is second-base. Still, like Hanson, if Herrera can repeat his GCL success in the South Atlantic League this coming season, he could shoot up prospect charts and gain top 100 consideration as a middle infielder with offensive promise.