Odubel Herrera has shockingly been the best Phillies hitter

Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera stood out at the plate in Sunday’s 6-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox. He provided a spark of energy for a team that had previously been lifeless throughout the weekend series.

Hitting second in the lineup for the first time this season, Herrera finished 3-4 with a pair of doubles, a run scored, and stolen base. As part of a four-run first inning, Herrera was hit by a pitch and stole second. Four innings later, he also notably hustled out a hit to right field, stretching a single into a double.

Phillies CF Odubel Herrera’s Hot Streak

The three-hit performance Sunday raised Herrera’s average to .284, despite his dismal 1-19 start — albeit facing major-league pitching for the first time in nearly two years.

Hitting .368 over his last 17 games, Herrera has reached base safely in a dozen consecutive contests and has arguably been the best Phillies hitter this month. This comes amid lingering injuries struggles with Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Didi Gregorius.

On May 12, Herrera hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals — a game the Phillies ultimately won in extras. The homer came as a morale boost following a devastating 12-inning loss — mostly attributed to a late-game-tying home run allowed by Hector Neris just days prior.

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The Phillies have stolen 28 bases in 31 attempts this season — a stellar, MLB-best 90.3 percent success rate. However, the team is fifth in the MLB in steals since they have significantly fewer attempts than each of the four teams ahead of them.

Herrera has been successful in each of his three stolen base attempts and will likely increase the rate of attempted steals, as one of the faster base runners on the team. A lineup that has struggled to score runs could benefit from this aggressive play.

Controversy for the Phillies

Herrera was involved in a domestic violence incident in May 2019. He served an 85-game suspension and did not appear in the majors again until last month. Herrera was the center of controversy throughout spring training because of this off-the-field issue.

The Phillies selected the 29-year-old Venezuelan in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. Following his 2016 All-Star season, the club signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million deal. However, mental lapses and inconsistent play caused many to sour on Herrera even before his actions and subsequent suspension.

What to Expect Moving Forward

The four players who competed with Herrera in spring training for playing time in center field will likely not challenge him for playing time any time soon:

  • Adam Haseley just recently returned from a leave of absence and is in the minors.
  • Roman Quinn was unproductive offensively before getting injured.
  • Scott Kingery is unlikely to be given much more of a chance to improve in red pinstripes.
  • Mickey Moniak has not shown enough to justify a roster spot yet, at this point in his career.

Fans saw the same types of energetic flashes from Herrera early in his career in Philadelphia, but the excitement never continued on a long-term basis. He will continue to play center field for the Phillies for the foreseeable future.

Herrera still has a lot left to prove on the diamond and outside the game of baseball.

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