Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera’s lack of plate discipline concerning

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Apr 18, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) hits a solo home run against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) hits a solo home run against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Odubel Herrera improved his plate discipline last season, but it seems the Phillies center fielder has regressed in that area.

The Phillies offense has been up and down this season with various players going on hot and cold streaks through the first month and a half of the season. One of their top offensive contributors from 2016, Odubel Herrera, has been part of the problem.

After finishing 2016 with a .286/.361/.420 line, all of Herrera’s numbers have dropped significantly as his line through 38 games this year stands at .242/.298/.369.

The most glaring difference between Herrera this year and last is his plate discipline. He has struck out in 25.5% of his plate appearances while walking just 6.8% of the time. Both are well below average according to Fangraphs and worse than his numbers last year. Herrera’s strikeout rate is even worse than his rookie year when he flailed through his first crack at major-league pitching.

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Herrera’s discipline has really fallen off since May rolled around with just one walk and 20 strikeouts in 67 plate appearances so far this month.

Manager Pete Mackanin has taken notice of Herrera’s struggles at the plate. Last Sunday he met with Herrera after he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in a loss to the Nationals. Mackanin would not say what the meeting was about, but it probably wasn’t a coincidence.

Thursday Herrera looked helpless at the plate again, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rangers. Mackanin told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that Herrera needs to step it up:

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"“He has to be a little bit more disciplined,” Mackanin said. “I don’t think he’s seeing the ball well for some reason. He might be over-swinging. That’s probably part of it.”"

Taking a look at Herrera’s PITCHf/x plate discipline numbers you can really break down the difference between this year and last year. He has swung at 44% of pitches outside of the zone, the third-highest rate in the league. He is swinging at more pitches overall at 54.4%, which is 10th-highest. Herrera is also making less contact than he did last year or his rookie season with a 72.3% contact rate.

Herrera’s swinging strike rate of 14.6% is also four percent higher than last year and is 12th-highest.

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Herrera entered this season expected to be one of the team’s top hitters but his lack of plate discipline, especially in recent weeks, has prevented him from doing that.

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