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It was a bad night for Odubel Herrera this past Monday when the Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves 2-1. A base running blunder along with a poor decision in centerfield is what caused fans to point the finger at Herrera for the loss. He followed that up last night with an RBI and a leaping catch at the wall. The answer to all of the fans who get a headache when watching Herrera play… take some Advil.

When discussing players with the highest baseball IQ in the Major Leagues, Odubel Herrera probably does not make that list. The mistakes we saw on Monday night, are not uncommon for the young outfielder. Throughout his career, Herrera has put together a resume with bad decisions that he has made, but his raw talent should outweigh them all.

So far in this young 2018 season, the Phillies starting centerfielder leads the team in hits (19) and batting average (.328). He also is in the top 5 of runs scored and extra base hits, which has kept him in the 3rd spot of the batting order consistently. With all of the lineup changes that manager Gabe Kapler has made through the first 16 games of the season, Herrera has batted 3rd in the last 9.

Herrera’s statistics at the plate continue to improve, and his defense remains above average. Even with his blunder Monday night where he did not communicate well with right-fielder Aaron Altherr, what you see out of him in most nights is gold glove caliber. In 2017, Herrera had the 6th best fielding percentage out of all centerfielders in the MLB. He also stood in the top 10 for the most outfield assists and only committed 2 errors.

What happened Monday night in the outfield was not a physical error, but more of a mental error. To play centerfield at all levels in baseball, you have to take command on balls in the gap. It was a shallow fly ball that was in between Herrera and Altherr and Herrera backed up last minute. That made Altherr rush his throw home allowing the runner to score on the sacrifice fly. Add that to not sliding into second base, and you have yourself a bad game.

So what should we do? Should we complain about the mental mistakes made by Herrera? Should we tweet about how Gabe Kapler should bench him or how GM Matt Klentak should trade him? If you think so, think about a former shortstop in Philadelphia who is a borderline Hall of Fame player.

During the playing career of Jimmy Rollins in Philadelphia, there were moments that caused our heads to hurt. Whether it was not running out a pop up, calling Phillies fans front runners, or one of the other handful of reasons why former manager Charlie Manuel would bench him, we still love him in this city. Not only do we love him for being a member of the 2008 World Series team, we love him for the impressive numbers that he put up throughout his career.

It is still too early in the career of Odubel Herrera to try and compare him to a legend like Jimmy Rollins, but it is also too early to try and trade him (or for some you, straight up release him). Herrera has shown that he can live in the 3rd spot of the batting order while also playing centerfield every night.

In case you need more reasons to understand that Herrera belongs in the league, here are some more offensive numbers that will remind you. Through the first 3 weeks of the 2018 season, Herrera is 7th among all outfielders with 5 doubles and a batting average of .328. Think of the names like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Herrera has numbers better or near those stars of the league.

Until the 26 year old is the reason why the Phillies lose every other night, fans need to stop complaining every time they see him in the lineup. When he runs a stop sign or does a bat flip on a fly out, you are not the only one rolling your eyes. However, Herrera has been a staple in the lineup during the last 9 games, which has totaled 7 wins. If you are going to keep a close eye on his mistakes, make sure you do not miss the success he is having so far this season.

 

– Andrew Salciunas – Phillies Contributor for 975thefanatic.com

– Producer of Mayes and Myrtetus Middays – Monday-Friday 10:00a-2:00p