ODUBEL HERRERA
Image of El Torito
Nickname:   El Torito Position:   CF
Home: Venezuela Team:   PHILLIES
Height: 5' 11" Bats:   L
Weight: 200 Throws:   R
DOB: 12/29/1991 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 37  
Birth City: Zulia, Venezuela
Draft: 2008 - Rangers - Free agent - Out of Venezuela
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2009 DSL DSL-Rangers   58 207 47 58 9 1 0 24 21 10 39 39 .399 .333 .280
2010 AZL AZL-Rangers   48 178 33 60 7 4 0 31 8 5 16 26 .394 .421 .337
2010 NWL SPOKANE   4 9 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .222 .333 .222
2011 SAL HICKORY   119 464 72 142 26 3 3 56 34 11 24 78 .349 .394 .306
2012 CAR MYRTLE BEACH   126 500 72 142 22 6 5 46 27 7 33 99 .335 .382 .284
2013 CAR MYRTLE BEACH   29 95 13 28 2 1 1 5 2 2 16 19 .398 .368 .295
2013 TL FRISCO   101 389 37 100 12 7 2 30 15 5 17 67 .289 .339 .257
2014 TL FRISCO   96 368 47 118 16 4 2 48 12 7 29 70 .373 .402 .321
2014 CAR MYRTLE BEACH   29 111 26 33 3 1 0 11 9 3 23 21 .412 .342 .297
2015 NL PHILLIES $507.00 147 495 64 147 30 3 8 41 16 8 28 129 .344 .418 .297
2016 NL PHILLIES $528.00 159 583 87 167 21 6 15 49 25 7 63 134 .361 .420 .286
2017 IL LEHIGH VALLEY   1 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250
2017 EL READING   1 2 2 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 1.000 2.500 1.000
2017 NL PHILLIES $1,600.00 138 526 67 148 42 3 14 56 8 5 31 126 .325 .452 .281
Personal
  • Herrera was a star volleyball player in Venezuela with a 40-inch vertical leap. But he knew baseball was his future.

  • In 2011, Odubel was 5th in the South Atlantic League in hitting (.306) at age 19, hitting .339 over the final three months of the season.

  • In the spring of 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Herrera as the 27th-best prospect in the Rangers organization. Heading into 2015 spring training with the Phillies, he was rated their 12th-best prospect.

  • Odubel gets the most out of his decent tools. He is one gritty gamer.

  • Herrera hit.372/.432/.556 in 207 at-bats for La Guaira to win both the batting title and MVP award in the Venezuelan League. The natural second baseman spent most of his time in center field, where the Phillies evaluated him during 2015 spring training.

    RALLY SQUIRREL RETURNS

  • On a chilly night in October 2011, the Phillies and Cardinals squared off in a classic NLDS game. Roy Oswalt was on the hill for the visiting Phils and was handed a two-run lead before he ever had to take the mound. But in the later innings ... things took a turn.

    A squirrel ran across home plate as Oswalt was set to deliver a pitch to Skip Schumaker. The umpire called it a ball, despite pleas from Oswalt and then-manager Charlie Manuel for a "no-pitch."

    The Cardinals went on to win Game 4 ... and Game 5 ... and then the NLCS ... and eventually the World Series. This Rally Squirrel thing had legs.

    Fast forward to the game of July 20, 2015. Yadier Molina and the Cardinals have the best record in baseball and are visiting the Phillies (who don't). But, it would seem that the Cards didn't want to take any chances because they brought the Rally Squirrel with them.

    The Cards were already up 4-0 in the top of the second inning when the squirrel began to scale the net behind home plate.

    Eventually, it fell onto the top of the home dugout before throwing itself into a host of players.

    "When I saw it in my face, I just brushed it away," said Phillies outfielder Herrera, who was near where the squirrel jumped into the dugout.

    Suddenly, it was 11-0. Just like that. Things eventually calmed down and the Cardinals never looked back, but Phillies fans will probably be seeing that squirrel in their nightmares for the next few days. (M Bertha - MLB.com - June 19, 2015)

  • Odubel's nickname, El Torito, meaning "the little bull" in Spanish, was given to the 5-foot-11 Venezuelan by his father while growing up, and has caught on.

  • Long before Phillies fans began to know Odubel as "El Torito," the energetic, perpetually smiling, always-clapping-after-a-walk, sometimes-flipping-his-bat-after-a-sac-fly Phillies center fielder, the organization used a couple scouting reports and a strong recommendation from one of their own to make him one of the best Rule 5 Draft picks in franchise history.

    "We feel like we're taking a shot on a prospect," Phillies professional scouting director Mike Ondo said after selecting Herrera with the eighth pick in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.  The Phillies got much more than that. They got a 2016 All-Star and a key piece to their future.  

    "He's a special guy," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I call him a hit collector. I don't know how he does it sometimes. He looks so bad at one at-bat and then the next three gets hits."  (Zolecki - MLB.com - 7/5/16)

  • Much of Herrera's 2016 success [through mid-July] can be ascribed to his improved plate discipline, as he's walked at an impressive 11.6 percent clip following a meager 5.2 rate as a rookie. "Last year, I was striking out a lot. During the offseason, it was a goal that I put to myself to improve [my plate discipline]. And I think that's what we've seen," he said.

    "He's a special guy," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "I call him a hit collector. I don't know how he does it sometimes."

    Odubel Sr. agreed with the skipper's sentiments.  "Basically, [when he reached] the age of 12, I started to realize he could be a great player, possibly a professional player," Herrera's father said at MLB's media day [at the 2016 All-Star Game]. Both of Herrera's parents are visiting the United States, carefully following Phillies games.

    Despite a few bumps in the road along the way, the sophomore Major Leaguer has accomplished something rare in earning All-Star accolades just 19 months after his Rule 5 selection. Players picked in the December Draft are essentially viewed as lottery tickets, with only a select few making it big. While the Phillies had room to improve during the 2016 season's second half, core pieces are already in place in Herrera, slugging third baseman Maikel Franco and several promising starter.

    "It makes me feel really good to be on a team with so much young talent -- talent that can evolve," Herrera said,

    But with multiple promising prospects in Philadelphia's pipeline, including several young outfielders, some have speculated that Herrera could one day revive his work as an infielder.

    "I came up as a second baseman, but now I am playing outfield. I am feeling good in the outfield and will continue to work hard [out there]," he said.

    Regardless of where he plays, Herrera will almost certainly continue to contribute a keen eye at the plate, enviable athleticism and an unbridled love for the game.  (Finkelstein - MLB.com - 7/12/16)

  • January 2017: Herrera committed to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

    TRANSACTIONS

  • July 3, 2008: Rangers' scout Rafic Saab signed Herrera as a free agent, out of Venezuela, for $160,000.

  • December 11, 2014: The Phillies chose Herrera out of the Rangers organization in the Rule 5 Draft.

  • December 16, 2016: Odubel signed a 5-year, $30.5 million with the Phillies.
Batting
  • Herrera has the fastest bat in the Rangers organization (2011 and 2012). He has a short, compact swing with great hip rotation and a knack for making hard contact. But his swing is not geared for loft.

    Odubel has a simple stroke that enables his good bat speed to provide line drives all over the field. Hitting from the left side, he doesn't have much pop, but he could bring some excitement to the lineup if he can get on base.

    “He puts the bat on the ball, he’s got good speed and he’s athletic,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He’s got some versatility and good energy. He’s willing to learn. He’s a nice little package. We’re trying to get younger and (more) athletic, so he kind of fits the bill there.

  • Home runs won't ever be a significant part of Odubel's game, but he already has real good gap power. His swing is not geared for loft.
  • Herrera displays some plate patience.
  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Odubel's career Major League stats were: .291 batting average, 23 home runs with 90 RBI in 1,078 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Odubel used to play second base, with soft hands and smooth moves around the bag. He is solid defensively and still improving. Herrera has also played shortstop, but is better at the keystone sack.
  • Odubel is the kind of center fielder who made a bunch of errors at first. But that's what makes him so exciting. And in 2016, he had improved to far above average -- a 65 grade center fielder, on the 20-80 scouting scale.

    "He's the kind of outfielder who wants to catch every ball," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He doesn't play away from mistakes. He doesn't play away from errors. He wants the ball hit to him. Even if it's not, he wants to catch it."

    It's that style of play that led Mackanin to describe Herrera, who never played in the Majors and had next-to-zero experience in the outfield before 2015, as "fearless" and "aggressive."

    "He's just a raw talent that's starting to get a little more polish to him," Mackanin said. "He's got the ability with his eye-hand coordination. He hits mistakes. He's gaining ground as the season goes on." (Suss - mlb.com - 8/2/15)

  • The fastball caught a little too much of the plate and the Blue Jays leadoff hitter crushed it. On the Phillies' bench, coach Juan Samuel had the same reaction as everybody else: The ball would carry over the head of center fielder Odubel Herrera for extra bases.

    Except that Herrera was off with the crack of the bat. He raced onto the warning track, extended his glove and made a backhanded catch a moment before slamming into the padded wall.  The sellout crowd roared. Samuel, who works with the team's outfielders in addition to coaching third, was pleased. This was tangible evidence on this play that all those lonely early morning Spring Training 2016 workouts, while the grass is still dewy and the gates are still locked, were paying off.

    Herrera was primarily a second baseman when the Phillies took him in the Rule 5 Draft before the 2015 season and converted him to the outfield. It's not a stretch to say that, in 2015, he likely wouldn't have made that catch.

    "I feel good that a lot of the hard work we've been putting in allowed that play to happen. But I know I need to continue to work on going back on balls," Herrera said. "It's gratifying to do that after putting so much work in. I feel that I've improved in a few areas, but I know that I need to continue to polish my defense out there. The only thing in my mind is to try to get better all the time."

  • Samuel didn't want to overwhelm Herrera in 2015. In 2016, he added more advanced defensive techniques, such as going back to the wall and running to a spot without watching the ball.

    "He's come a long way. But I'm not satisfied," Samuel said. "I'd like to see more of him going to the ball. I just wanted him to be more comfortable so he doesn't even have to think about it. At times I see him thinking, 'I'm going to hit it.' I don't want him to feel like there's a wall there and, 'I'm going to get hurt.' He shouldn't play that way. Until I can see him [consistently] going back there with confidence and he knows he's not going to get hurt when he runs into the wall, that's when I'll know he's got it."

    That's why the play Herrera made to rob the home run was so encouraging.  

    Samuel tells Herrera that he needs to get to the spot first, that he can't arrive at the same time as the ball. He tells him to notice when he hits the warning track. He tells him that he probably has three steps once he hits the dirt. He tells him that if the ball is still in the air after the second step that it's time to peel off and play the carom. (Hagen - 3/13/16)

Running
  • Odubel has good speed, but needs to learn the nuances of reading pitchers and improving his jumps.
  • As of June 2016, Herrera has gotten caught stealing half as many times as he's been successful in the Majors (24 out of 36).
Career Injury Report
  • Aug 15-Sept 4, 2017: Herrera was on the DL with strained left hamstring.