It’s hard to keep up with the stock of Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera these days.
From goat to hero; from an essential building block for the future to an expendable trade chip; from the most valuable Phillie to a disobedient nuisance who bucks baseball norms, Herrera has been all over the map.
For casual Phillies fans, it’s quite hard to pinpoint whether a player worth getting attached to or not.
If you look at the numbers, he’s good — and that can’t be denied. If you look at him hustle, flip his bat or wind up on the disabled list, he’s a peculiar case.
He was snatched from obscurity in the Rule 5 draft three years ago and played his way into a $30.5 million extension — making him the only Phillies player under longterm contract.
He’s now, quite possibly, done for the year.
“I’m definitely surprised,” Herrera said through an interpreter two days ago when he wound up on the DL after a hamstring injury out west. “I thought it was going to be something quick. It is what it is and hopefully I’ll recover sooner rather than later.”
The injury stifles one of the most impressive stretches of baseball in the entire league since the All-Star break.
Herrera has hit .383/.450/.692 with six home runs and 11 doubles since mid-July, making him the second most valuable hitter in that span to Giancarlo Stanton. He also was on track to put together the highest WAR of any Phillies player over his first three seasons in the history of the franchise. That is if he returns this year.
With minor league prospects chomping at the bit to make it to the majors, a front office curious to see what they actually have in the organization and a team so far gone from contention that there is nothing left to play for aside from pride, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if this is used as an excuse to shut down Herrera for the rest of the year and clinch a second No. 1 overall draft pick in three seasons.
“To be honest with you, I think I could play, but I don’t want to force it,” Herrera said. “I think we should play it safe. We don’t want me to go back on the field and then have something happen. I want to be 100 percent sure that I can go out there and perform the way I know I can.”