What role will Odubel Herrera play in 2019?
Herrera projects to be the Phillies everyday center fielder despite his ridiculous peaks and valleys on the field.
After coming into Clearwater early Herrera suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain, which could put his status on the opening day roster in jeopardy.
To make matters worse for the Phillies, Roman Quinn, who is projected to backup Herrera in center, is also dealing with an oblique injury.
If Herrera is ready to go he is likely the starting center fielder on March 28 when the Phillies host Atlanta. With plenty of off days scheduled early, the Phillies could play it safe and shelve Herrera to start the season and instead play Quinn, Nick Williams, or Aaron Altherr in center.
As for the entire season, Herrera will have to prove to the coaching staff and front office he’s the guy to patrol center field going forward. This is a make or break year for the Venezuelan native despite about $30 million guaranteed remaining in his deal, which includes buyouts.
Herrera will need to show maturity while not losing his energetic flare and also be able to concede home run swings for getting on base, something he did early in his All-Star season three years ago.
Herrera can still be a big piece to the lineup, but he has to focus in the field and at the plate, or else he’ll easily be replaced with the always hustling Quinn. Keep in mind, the Phillies drafted two center fielders with two of their last three first round picks, Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak.
While Moniak likely won’t be ready to make a major league impact in 2019, Haseley could be knocking on the door late in the season.