Herrera with the Philadelphia Phillies
|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 37|
December 29, 1991 |
|April 6, 2015, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
(through May 20, 2016)
|Runs batted in||54|
David Odubel Herrera (born December 29, 1991) is a Venezuelan professional baseball center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB). After spending 2008–2014 in the Texas Rangers' farm system, the Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft, noting his potential to develop as a solid major league player, particularly in regards to his batting average; he won batting titles in both the Texas League and the Venezuelan Winter League in 2014.
Herrera was signed by the Texas Rangers as an international free agent in 2008 at age 16. He began his professional career in the Dominican Summer League, and slowly progressed through the farm system, albeit behind several other top prospects. Predominantly an infielder in the Rangers' system, he began playing sporadically in the outfield during the 2014 season, in which he split time between the Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, winning the Texas League batting title. He also participated in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he earned recognition as the most valuable player (MVP) by posting a .372 batting average with six home runs and a .988 on-base plus slugging (OPS).
"Stuck behind a glut of infielders in the Rangers system" and looking for an opportunity to perform, Herrera was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Rangers in the 2014 Rule 5 draft, which stipulates that he must remain a part of their roster for the 2015 season. Phillies' general manager Rubén Amaro, Jr. said that the Phillies viewed Herrera as an intriguing prospect, insofar as he "fits the bill" of what the club sought to do – develop speed and athleticism within their lineup, as well as give younger players a chance to prove themselves. Paula Wolf, a writer for LNP, compared Herrera to another former Phillies' outfielder selected in the Rule 5 draft, Shane Victorino. "With the departure of Aaron Rowand to free agency in 2007, Victorino took over center field, and the rest is history", he wrote. "He was as important a component of the Phillies’ five playoff appearances from 2007–2011 as anyone in that lineup. Herrera, of course, will be playing for a club that seems to be at its nadir, while Victorino came on board just as the team was building momentum for sustained success." He was named the 2015 Opening Day center fielder, with the Phillies moving Ben Revere to left field. Herrera later got his first hit against the Washington Nationals, where he hit a walkoff double. Herrera then got less playing time, with Revere moving back to centerfield. Herrera then had his second walkoff hit, against the Tampa Bay Rays in an eleven pitch at-bat. Herrera then became a starter again after Revere was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Standing 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighing 200 pounds (91 kg), Herrera focuses mostly on hitting for a high batting average; entering 2015, he cumulatively hit .294 during his minor league career, and added a .354 on-base percentage. Power hitting is not a strength, but the Phillies are optimistic about his potential to develop as a major league hitter. Scouts call him a line drive hitter with the ability to "use his speed to create havoc." An athlete with excellent speed, he has potential to develop into a base stealer if he can embody a more cerebral approach on the basepaths. Defensively, he spent most of his early minor league career as a second baseman or shortstop before transitioning to the outfield, ostensibly demonstrating his versatility.
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