While Ben Revere had been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last month and a half, producing a .333 batting average since May 16, he has recently been dealing with hamstring soreness, as reported by Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki.
Filling in for Revere has been Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera, who had been reduced to just nine starts in June. With Revere’s injury, the 23-year-old Herrera has been the main beneficiary, getting a starting nod in all six of the Phillies games thus far in July.
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Prior to Friday night, Herrera was tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .391 with a .391 OBP and a 1.043 OPS. He also had three doubles, one homer, and four RBIs on the month. That was all before last night’s series opener in LA, where Herrera added to his hot stretch by leading off the 7th inning with a solo homerun.
Aside from July 1, when Revere hit in the leadoff spot of the batting order and Herrera batted eighth, Herrera had been given the opportunity to bat leadoff for the Phillies in four straight games. Without Revere, the Phillies don’t have another prototypical leadoff hitter, leaving Herrera as the next best option. Last night with Revere back, Herrera again hit in the 8-hole.
Leading off has been his sweet spot in the lineup this season. In 74 at-bats at the top of the order, Herrera is hitting .297 with a .316 OBP. The 27-year-old Revere has been about the same, batting .292 with a slightly higher OBP of .331 in 277 at-bats.
Dominic Brown continues to struggle, hitting only .188 with zero home runs since his return to the bigs. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin will likely keep Herrera in center and move Revere to right, or visa versa, as he did last night.
Revere’s name has been tossed around in trade conversations, and with the July 31 deadline approaching the team will certainly want to feature him as long as he remains healthy. It is quite possible that Revere changes uniforms, leaving Herrera as the club’s everyday leadoff hitter and centerfielder for the remainder of the season.
When the Phillies selected Herrera in the Rule 5 Draft, they believed they were getting a player who had special offensive potential. Herrera started hot, hitting .301 at the end of April. He had cooled some after that, dropping to a low of .243 in early June. But Herrera is again showing that offensive potential. His average is back up to .266, and in addition to his homer last night, he also stole his 9th base of the season.
Herrera was one of the bright spots in last night’s opener of the four-game series at Dodger Stadium. If they want to have success, Herrera will need to continue his hot hitting, whether it’s from the leadoff spot, or the bottom of the order. He and the Phillies’ hitters will be tested against a Dodgers rotation that ranks fifth in MLB with a 3.21 ERA, and features former Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.