Jun 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
enter fielder Herrera (37) runs out of the batters box at Citizens Bank Park.
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
On December 11th, 2014 the Phillies selected outfielder Odubel Herrera from the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft. Herrera had won the Venezuelan Winter League batting crown with a .372 average, that following a season in the Rangers’ minors system in which he hit for a .315 combined average across stops at two levels.
The Phillies would have to either keep Herrera on the big league roster all season, or offer him back to Texas, or work out some deal to keep him. Herrera made the decision easy, almost from the beginning of his time with the club in spring training.
For his offensive performance, Herrera won the balloting as the Phillies 2015 Offensive Player of the Year, receiving the 1st place vote from 5 of our 6 staffers. He also took home the 2015 Rookie of the Year honors as well, receiving 4 of the 6 votes, with the other two 1st place ballots going to rookie pitcher Aaron Nola.
The man affectionately known as “El Torito” (little bull) had never played the outfield on a regular basis, but the team put him out their in the spring and let him learn on the job. As the season wore on, Herrera cemented himself as the Phillies’ starting everyday center fielder.
While his routes and timing were sometimes off, his speed and hustle also allowed him to play the position well. That combination of athleticism and inexperience came together in perhaps his defensive season highlight, making the final catch to seal Cole Hamels’ no-hitter vs the Cubs.
Offensively, Herrera led the club regulars in batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.344), runs scored (64), and with 30 doubles. His 16 steals were 2nd on the team.
Just yesterday, it was announced that Herrera was nominated by the Phillies for the MLB Hank Aaron Award, which goes to the top offensive player in each league. While he has no chance to actually win that honor, just the fact that he was nominated as the Phils’ top offensive player is a tremendous accomplishment for a player who was left unprotected by his former team less than a calendar year ago.
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