Odubel Herrera – Philadelphia Phillies
In a year where rookies stole the show in the National League, Herrera’s 2015 season went under the radar. In 136 games, Herrera had a slash line of .297/.344/.418 with eight home runs, 41 RBI’s, and 16 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He was mainly in center field last season, but he will likely slide over to left field with the offseason acquisition of Peter Bourjos going to center.
If you compare his numbers to other rookies last season, he was tied for third in steals with Michael Taylor, fifth in batting average, and fourth in hits (third among National League rookies behind Matt Duffy of the Giants and Kris Bryant of the Cubs). Plus, his 30 doubles were just outside the top ten among all NL outfielders (tied for 11th).
The 24-year-old will be looking to continue his development after a strong finish to the 2015 season. In the second half of the season, Herrera hit .329 with four home runs, 17 RBI’s, and a .394 on-base percentage (seventh among NL outfielders). Against the Nationals last year, Herrera hit .271 in 59 plate appearances with five RBI’s and a .338 on-base percentage.
Despite a strong season last year and his 3.8 WAR being the best of any player on the Phillies, expectations are low for Herrera’s sophomore season. According to Fangraphs, Herrera is projected for a three win decrease in WAR and Philadelphia’s left fielders are projected for the lowest WAR of any team in baseball. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies’ Rule V selection in December 2014 has a strong sophomore season.
Next: Number Three