Odubel Herrera

From BR Bullpen

David Odubel Herrera

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Odubel Herrera was MVP of the Venezuelan League in 2014-2015 and won a batting title in AA.

Herrera was signed by Texas Rangers scout Rafic Saab in July 2008. He hit .280/.399/.333 for the DSL Rangers 2 in his pro debut, with 39 walks, 47 runs and 21 steals in 31 tries over 58 games. He fielded .863 at SS, making 34 errors. He spent most of 2010 as a middle infielder with the AZL Rangers (.337/.394/.421, 33 R, 31 RBI in 48 G) before a brief stint with the Spokane Indians (2 for 9). He was 5th in the Arizona League in average (between Nick Shaw and Chih-Fang Pan, 7th in OBP (between Henry Moreno and Kurtis Muller), tied for 6th in RBI (with Royce Consigli and Guillermo Pimentel) and was 8th in runs. He was named the AZL All-Star shortstop. Baseball America did not make the league's top-20 prospect list.

Making it to a full-season league, the Zulia native hit .306/.349/.394 and stole 34 bases in 45 tries, scoring 72 runs for the Hickory Crawdads. He was mostly used at 2B. He was 6th in the South Atlantic League in batting average (between Christian Yelich and Chris Garcia) and 4th in swipes (between Zach Collier and Carlos Willoughby). He was again named to his loop's All-Star team, this time as the top second baseman; double play combo mate Jurickson Profar was the SS picked.

Herrera hit .284/.335/.382 for the 2012 Myrtle Beach Pelicans and stole 27 bases in 34 tries. He tied Blake Kelso for 5th in the Carolina League in steals and made 41 errors between 2B and SS. His 22-game hitting streak was the league's longest that year. In '13, he was back to second base, producing at a .295/.398/.368 clip in 29 games for Myrtle Beach and .257/.289/.339 in 101 games for the Frisco RoughRiders. His 7 triples tied for 5th in the Texas League; he only had 12 double and 2 homers to go with them, though.

In 2014, Odubel played for Myrtle Beach (.297/.412/.342 in 29 G) and Frisco (.321/.373/.402 in 96 G) again; he scored 73 runs and stole 21 bases in 31 tries while picking up his average and OBP. He led the Texas League in average by 13 points over Brian Hernandez, was third in OBP (behind Max Muncy and Andrew Alpin) and was 6th in OPS (between Rymer Liriano and Hernandez). He was named to the TL All-Star team as a utility man, with Alex Yarbrough picked as the starter at 2B. Despite three All-Star nods in the past five years, he was left off the 40-man roster. The Philadelphia Phillies took him with the 8th pick of the 2014 Rule V Draft, between Taylor Featherston and Andrew McKirahan. He was one of two Rule V picks for the Phils that off-season as they also selected Andy Oliver from Pittsburgh.

Moving to CF, he hit .372/.432/.556 with 14 doubles, 35 runs and 27 RBI in 58 games for the Tiburones de La Guaira in the 2014-15 winter league season. He led the Venezuelan League in average (.012 ahead of Félix Pérez), tied Maikol Gonzalez for 6th in runs, was second to Pérez in hits, tied David Peralta and Rene Reyes for 4th in doubles, was second to Pérez in total bases, ranked 4th in steals, was second in OBP (.003 behind Ramon Flores), third in slugging (after Alex Gonzalez and Pérez) and second in OPS (30 points behind Gonzalez). He was not only Rookie of the Year but also MVP. He was the fourth straight member of the Tiburones to win Rookie of the Year (following Hector Sanchez, Salvador Pérez and Yolmer Sanchez) and second straight MVP (after Alex Cabrera). The only prior player to get both honors in the same year was Ernesto Mejia. He was only 2 for 31 to start the postseason, though.

Herrera impressed the Phillies enough in spring training in 2015 to be their opening day center fielder on April 6th, pushing incumbent Ben Revere to left field in the process. Batting second in the line-up behind Revere, he went 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts, although none of his teammates did much better, as the Phils lost to the Boston Red Sox, 8-0, while being limited to three hits. He fouled a ball off his left foot that day and did not start the next three games, although he played in each. It took him 5 games and 10 at-bats to collect his first big league hit, but when he finally did so on April 11th, he made it count, with a 10th-inning double down the right field line off Tanner Roark that drove in Carlos Ruiz with the winning run in a walk-off, 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.

On June 3-5, 2017, Odubel became the first Phillies player since at least 1913 to hit a pair of doubles in three straight games. The outburst came at a right time, as he was in a deep slump at the time, to the point that the Phillies were even contemplating demoting him to AAA. In the last two of those games, he also hit a homer, something only Del Ennis had ever done, back in 1952. Before the hot streak, Herrera was hitting only .218 with 3 homers and 14 RBIs in 50 games. He missed the second half of August with a pulled hamstring, returning on September 4th. When the injury occurred, he had a 17-game hitting streak, dating back to July 28th. He got hits in each of his first three game backs to stretch the streak to 20 games, the longest in the majors that season. His last three months had been outstanding, as he had hit .321 in June and .360 in both July and August before going down with the injury.

He started off the 2018 season by reaching base in 40 consecutive games from March 30th to May 19th. His strong performance in the lead-off spot was key to the Phillies getting off to a hit start and hanging on with the Washington Nationals and the equally-surprising Atlanta Braves on top of the NL East in the early going. However he cooled down considerably after a hot start, and so died the Phils. He ended the year at .255, with an OBP of .310, in 148 games. He did set personal best marks with 22 homers and 71 RBIs, but overall, it was his weakest season as his OPS+ was just 93, after he had been above 100 each of his first three years. He started off slowly in 2019, hitting just .222 with an OBP of .288 after 39 games, when on May 27th he was arrested on charges of domestic violence. The incident reportedly occurred that evening at a casino in Atlantic City, NJ, where he had committed assault against a 20-year-old woman identified as his girlfriend. He was immediately placed on administrative leave by the Commissioner's office. According to leaked police reports, the assault was serious enough to leave hand print markings on the victim's neck, in addition to scratch marks. Herrera's administrative leave was extended to June 17th, and in the meantime the Phils acquired OF Jay Bruce in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, a clear sign that they were expecting Odubel to receive a significant suspension. On July 3rd, criminal charges against him were dropped after his girlfriend declined to press further charges, but he was still ordered to complete counseling. However, this outcome did not convince Major League Baseball that he should escape further punishment: on July 5th, it was announced that he would be suspended for the remainder of the season and the postseason.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2016)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2018)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Feinsand: "Odubel Herrera suspended for rest of season", mlb.com, July 5, 2019. [1]
  • Austin Laymance: "Herrera turning heads with strong showing in winter ball: Rule 5 Draft pick named Rookie of Year, MVP of Venezuelan Winter League", mlb.com, January 13, 2015. [2]

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