Asdrubal Cabrera’s Injury Means the Mets Must #FreeDilson

News tonight is that Asdrubal Cabrera, who came up lame during the Mets game against the Rockies this afternoon, might be done for the year. If that’s the case, the Mets need to act quickly to figure out what they will do with their roster.

The way I see it, the Mets options can be sorted into three main themes:

  1. Let Wilmer Flores play shortstop, call up either Dilson Herrera to play 2B (moving Neil Walker to 3B) or call up Ty Kelly to play 3B.
  2. Call up Gavin Cecchini or Matt Reynolds to play shortstop.
  3. Acquire a shortstop.

None of these options are particularly palatable, but the only option for a contending team is to promote Herrera.

A few weeks back, I did some cursory research to try and figure out what, if anything, hitting stats from Las Vegas could tell us about a hitter’s transition to the major leagues. (Full article here.) As it turns out, things like BB/K ratio had very little influence on whether a player succeeded in the major leagues, while batting average and isolated power had a strong correlation. Anyone can work a walk in Las Vegas but, if you want to be a bona fide prospect, you need to rake.

With that in mind, we can take a quick guess at how Herrera, Kelly, Cecchini and Reynolds will transition (I’m excluding T.J. Rivera because he’s not on the 40-man roster and the Mets don’t look inclined to use him).

  • Herrera .276/.328/.465 (189 ISO, .314 BABIP)
  • Cecchini .315/.392/.437 (123 ISO, .350 BABIP)
  • Kelly .343/.427/.462 (119 ISO, .403 BABIP)
  • Reynolds .234/.307/.335 (102 ISO, .347 BABIP)

Even though his batting average is lackluster right now (due to the lowest BABIP of the group by far) it is clear that Dilson Herrera is the only player on this list with any chance of hitting in the major leagues. Ty Kelly posted a .207 OBP in the majors, and Matt Reynolds posted a .267 OBP. Herrera, even though he is much-maligned by some fans, has already held his own in the major leagues with a .215/.308/.383 slash line despite playing at age 20 and 21.

If it were me, I’d bring up Herrera to play second base, shift Walker to third base, and let Flores play shortstop. This is obviously less than ideal but with the Mets offense struggling to score runs at this rate, they simply cannot afford to have another automatic out in the lineup every day. This calculus might be different if Gavin Cecchini was an elite defender, but as of now, his 28 errors lead Las Vegas (Rivera is second with only 7).

Yes, I’d love it if Herrera was hitting better right now. Yes, I’d love it if the Mets could swing a deal for a legitimate starting shortstop (or would I? should they be selling?). But for now, Cecchini, Kelly, and Reynolds every day are not options for a team that is contending — or pretending.

Make the move, Mets. Free Dilson.

(Photo credit Michael Baron)