No one thought much of the Phillies selecting Odubel Herrera from the Texas Rangers during the Rule 5 draft last winter. Although he hit .294 between 2009 and 2014 in the Rangers' minor league system, it's common knowledge that players selected in the Rule 5 draft often don't stick with the team that selects them.
This is due to the fact that the draft selection must stay on his new team's major league roster for an entire season. He cannot be sent down to the minors; instead, he must be offered back to the team from which he was drafted.
After not playing above Double-A in his career, Herrera had an excellent spring for the Phillies, hitting .343 with seven stolen bases and 12 runs scored through 21 games. He not only made the major league roster, but earned a starting spot in the Phillies' outfield.
This is even more incredible when you consider the fact that Herrera spent the majority of his minor league career playing the middle infield positions. He only played 13 of his 559 total minor league games in the outfield, with 11 games in left field and two games in center.
Coming into Monday's game, Herrera had the fourth best average among NL rookies, trailing only Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals, Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, and Matt Duffy of the Giants. He has arguably been one of the biggest contributors to the continuously struggling Phillies offense this season, with six homers, 34 RBI, 55 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.
Herrera's defense has been a bit slower to come around. He currently has five errors, but also five assists. As the season has progressed, his natural talent has blossomed into strong defensive ability, thanks to the help of outfield instructor and first base coach Juan Samuel. Two of Herrera's many catches this season played a role in securing Cole Hamels' no-hitter on July 25. He's obviously still a work in progress, as many young players are, but it's clear that he's catching on to his new position.
In a year that has the Phillies at the bottom of the standings and the remaining core from the 2008 World Champion team dissipating, it's good to see a few bright spots in the young players and rookies. Along with Maikel Franco, Cody Asche, Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp, Herrera is making a case for his place in the team's future. If he continues making strides like he has this season, Herrera will be more than a bright spot for the Phils; he'll be a regular in the MLB highlight reels.