This afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies officially announced that they had designated outfielder, Odubel Herrera for assignment. The news came directly via a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) January 14, 2020
All offseason long, the Phillies have been suggesting that today’s news would happen. The only question was when it would become official. Halfway through last season, Herrera was suspended without pay as Major League Baseball conducted an investigation.
Herrera Was Once Highly Regarded
Following the accusations involving Herrera, the Philadelphia Phillies overall viewpoint of him changed completely. Herrera went from being highly regarded to a player whose future was put into question.
If you recall, the Phillies drafted Herrera from the Texas Rangers during the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. Expectations were very low at the time. It was essentially like playing the lotto because the Phillies didn’t know a lot about Herrera.
However, that quickly changed especially during his rookie season in 2015. That season, Herrera had a .344 on-base percentage, recorded 30 doubles and had an overall Wins Above Replacement value of 4.0.
Tale of Two Seasons in 2018
After putting together two more successful seasons in 2016 and 2017, Odubel Herrera started to really break out once 2018 rolled around. That season during his age 26 season, Herrera hit 22 home runs, with 71 RBI, and had a .420 slugging percentage over 597 plate appearances.
To start that season at one point, Herrera was practically off the charts. During the first month of the season, Herrera hit .343 with a .388 batting average on balls in play. That stellar level of play continued for the first half of the season before coming to a screeching halt during the second half of the year.
Second Half Struggles
During the second half of that season, Herrera showed less plate discipline and was really struggling to make contact with the baseball. Herrera recorded 40 strikeouts, a .214 batting average, and a .241 batting average on balls in play over that period. The results weren’t there for someone who was once viewed as a franchise player.
Concerns During 2019
Heading into the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Phillies were looking for a potential upgrade in centerfield. Philadelphia knew that Herrera probably wasn’t their guy moving forward, but was willing to give him a second chance. Essentially, that chance was to prove that he could bounce back from a disappointing 2018 campaign.
In the end, the potential outcome of what could have been for Odubel Herrera has quickly changed. While Herrera was a lottery ticket for the Philadelphia Phillies, he ended up being one that wasn’t able to pan out as expected. The Phillies had much higher expectations for him. Now, the future is much darker for Herrera following today’s news.