Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Odubel Herrera is headed to the All-Star Game as Phillies' lone rep

Odubel Herrera will board a plane Sunday once the Phillies wrap up their series in Colorado and head to San Diego to partake in baseball's annual Mid-Summer Classic.

The high-energy center fielder is the Phillies lone representative set to play in this year's All-Star Game. He entered Tuesday ranked eighth in the National League in hits (93) and in walks (43), and 12th in OBP (.390). He also is only one of 11 major league players with double-digit totals in both home runs (10) and stolen bases (12) in 2016.

“First and foremost, he plays with energy,” general manager Matt Klentak said prior to Tuesday's contest against the Braves. “Anybody watching the games can see that. He's as excited to take a walk as anybody I have ever seen. He's also excited to hit a home run or hit a fly ball to left field. It's exciting to watch him play.

“We've seen his ability to barrel up the ball. He hit almost .300 last year. He's hitting .300 this year. We're starting to see him come into some power now, which is not uncommon that power would develop a little bit later.

“As important as anything, it's just been the way he's learned to control the strike zone. His walk rate compared to what it was a year ago or compared to what it was in the minor leagues is a really positive step. He's certainly developing into an impact player and we're happy he's on our club.”

Herrera is just the 29th player since the Rule 5 draft was instituted in the 1950s to be named an All-Star, joining former Phillies' selections Dave Hollins and Shane Victorino. 

“[Herrera] is a special guy,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “I call him a hit collector, he collects hits. I don’t know how he does it sometimes. He looks so bad at one at-bat and then the next three he gets hits. I think at one point, when we played the Cubs I think it was, they started pounding him inside and I think that kind of screwed his approach up a little bit so he kind of went into a little funk. Then he started making adjustments."

Herrera has already surpassed his home-run total (eight) from last year with 10 in 84 games this season. He also has demonstrated more patience at the plate and appears more comfortable. He still makes occasional gaffes on the base-paths and in the outfield, but the exuberance he brings to the park every night makes him a treat to watch and that's the hallmark of almost every All-Star.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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