In this, the post-Ben Revere era, not to mention the post-Chase Utley era, the question was posed to me: which player on the Phillies isn't afraid to get his uniform dirty? Who's willing to go all-out to make a play?
Even with all these bright, shiny, young new Phillies, the answer wasn't hard to find.
Odubel Herrera! To me, he's easily the most dynamic player on the squad. As this year's Rule 5 pick, Herrera had to stay on the 25-man roster all season or be sent back to the Texas Rangers. When the season began, I thought it was going to be a tough sell because he was primarily an infielder, and the Phillies had more than enough of those. But the Phils decided to try him out in center field, subbing for Ben Revere while he spent time in the outfield corners.
That the move worked out is a testament to Herrera's talent and flexibility. He's not always perfect, but I can tell he's been learning and improving with both the bat and the glove. Plus, he tries harder than anyone. And I've got proof!
He gets up and magically, his uniform is clean! Plus, he *gets up*. The last time I took a header like that (OK it wasn't exactly like that) I considered staying on the ground and just living in that spot forever. Looking through the video clips of his catches, it seems like Herrera eats turf in service to the game pretty regularly.
His body goes one way, his arm and glove go another. He holds on even as he tries not to land on his arm, which is directly in front of him. And then just a casual roll as he hops up. "IT'S SO EASY" his nonchalant acrobatics seem to say.
He covers so much ground on his feet, and then another eight feet or so on his stomach as he slides across the grass. Plus, that catch took a hit away from Freddie Freeman, which makes it even better.
Even in a game when the Phillies are down 14-7, Odubel Herrera will swallow a great mouthful of greenery to make a catch.
Odubel Herrera clearly knows how to make a diving grab. But not all his great plays have involved him diving to the ground. The man's got a top notch leaping game.
And of course I can't forget his most famous and memorable pair of plays from just over a month ago, when Odubel Herrera preserved Cole Hamels' first career no-hitter not just once, but twice.
I'm crying all over again! My heart was in my throat, but when he made that final catch I knew that Odubel Herrera would be part of Phillies lore forever. Just like you can't talk about Roy Halladay's postseason no-no without mentioning the amazing final play that Carlos Ruiz made from his knees in front of the plate, you won't be able to talk about Hamels no-no without bringing up Herrera's game-saving plays.
His nickname is "El Toro", AKA "the bull", which could not be more appropriate. And his teammates agree!
At a new position on a new team, Odubel Herrera proved himself worthy of the Phillies 25-man roster all year. I don't know what the future holds, but Herrera has certainly earned himself a spot on the 2016 Phillies, not to mention a place in my heart.
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