It’s tough to call a Triple-A player a hidden gem, but in a sense, that is exactly what Allan Dykstra—who has no relation to Lenny Dykstra—is.
The Mets traded underachieving pitching prospect Eddie Kunz to the San Diego Padres for Dykstra in March 2011. Kunz briefly flashed potential for the Mets as a 2007 first-round pick, but he did not contribute much to the Mets except for this remarkable blog post where he described one of his outings as "ruff."
Since the trade, Dykstra has relished his second chance, swiftly climbing up the organization after struggling to adapt with San Diego.
At the same time, he is overlooked and not considered one of the top prospects for the Mets, even though he has developed into a poised hitter.
Dykstra spent all of 2013 in Double-A, where he was the Eastern League MVP and the Sterling Organizational Co-Player of the Year. He finished with an impressive .274/.436/.503 line in 122 games with 22 doubles, 21 home runs, 82 RBI and an astonishing 102 walks.
Meanwhile, that same year, Kunz was released by the Padres.
This season, Dykstra’s first exposure to Triple-A, he has put up even gaudier numbers. In 49 games, he already has 17 doubles, eight home runs, 44 RBI, 39 walks, and a .299/.437/.565 line. That equates to a 1.002 OPS.
At 6'5" and 215 pounds, Dykstra has quickly become a fearsome left-handed-hitting presence in the lineup for the Las Vegas 51s.
Even so, it is important to note that he recently turned 27 years old. Per PressConnects.com, general manager Sandy Alderson recently vouched that Dykstra could have a future at the major league level, but there may not be room for him. Dykstra’s below-average foot speed and defense also limit him to being a first baseman only. The Mets already have one of those in Lucas Duda, but Duda is hitting just .236 this season.
As Alderson himself stated, Dykstra is insanely good at drawing walks. That is precisely what the organization values in hitters.
Alderson, and close confidante Paul DePodesta, were even with San Diego, when the Padres drafted Dykstra in the first round in 2008.
Clearly, the 27-year-old is a player on the front office’s radar.
The Mets have a pitiful offense but an on-base machine patiently waiting in Triple-A. This season, they have shown a newfound willingness to call up younger prospects, such as Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom and Eric Campbell. Dykstra’s name should soon appear on that list, as he is undoubtedly the top hidden gem in the farm system.
He is criticized for being a one-dimensional player who can only get on base, but Dykstra happens to be really, really good at getting on base and does not get nearly enough credit for this skill.
The Mets offense desperately needs a boost, and the first place any organization looks is its farm system. The Mets farm system currently boasts a number of hidden gems, but none are better than Dykstra.