When the Phillies selected Odubel Herrera in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, nobody really gave it a whole lot of thought. Sure, he had great minor league numbers, but he hadn't played higher than Double-A ball and the Phillies would have to find a way to keep him on the roster for the entire season or risk having to give him back to the Texas Rangers. Not only that, but defensively, he wasn't highly regarded at second base and the Phillies wanted him to learn to play center field. A tall order for a young kid.
Fast forward a little more than a year and a half later and Herrera is heading to San Diego to represent the Phillies in the 2016 All-Star Game as the team's lone representative.
The Phillies had interest in Herrera, but their interest really picked up when he played winter ball in Venezuela following the 2014 season. Phillies front office special assistant Jorge Velandia was the general manager of Herrera's team and got to see him play outfield that winter. It was Velandia's input about Herrera's ability to play the outfield that convinced the Phillies to grab Herrera in the Rule 5 Draft that December.
There weren't a whole lot of options for representatives from the Phillies, but Jeanmar Gomez (22 saves) would have been a possibility. After all, Gomez has never served as a closer and he's doing the job well for Philadelphia.
Herrera also has the legitimate numbers to win a spot on the all-star team, having hit .302 with an on-base percentage of .388 through the first 84 games of the season for the Phillies. He's also eclipsed some of his numbers from last season in just 84 games, as compared to the 147 games that he played in last season with the Phillies. This season, Herrera has set career-highs in home runs (10) and walks (43). He's also hitting just above last year's .297 average and well above his OBP of .344 and his slugging percentage (.418 last year, .441 this season) from his rookie season.
This season, Herrera sees his name dotted around the list of National League leaders. The 24-year old is currently second in games (84), third in singles (73), fourth in times on-base (139) and leads all center fielders with seven outfield assists.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday that Herrera is a guy who was "born to hit."
The Major League All-Star Game will be played July 12 in San Diego.
Odubel Herrera's career stats