Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will Odubel Herrera Hold Value In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Philadelphia Phillies are clearly a team building for the future, and with the five-year, $30.5 million extension (which could tack on an additional two years and $24 million) it’s clear that the team views Odubel Herrera as part of the solution.  Barring a trade he’s going to be on the roster through 2021 (and with the options 2023), the question now is if fantasy owners should view him in a similar manner.

Before we answer that question, let’s look at the numbers he posted in 2016:

583 At Bats
.286 Batting Average (167 Hits)
15 Home Runs
49 RBI
87 Runs
25 Stolen Bases
.361 On Base Percentage
.420 Slugging Percentage
.349 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Your gut reaction would be that it would be impossible to maintain that type of BABIP, though it was already a step backward (.387 in ’15).  He’s proven that he can hit the ball hard consistently (21.6% line drive rate), and we all know he has the speed to maintain this type of mark.  The problem, though, is with his strikeout rate.

As it is the whiffs rose as the season progressed (18.3% to 23.4%) and his plate discipline is hardly impressive:

  • 10.6% SwStr%
  • 34.6% O-Swing%

He specifically struggled with breaking balls (15.21% Whiff%) and offspeed pitches (14.46%).  Obviously his .277 average in the second half isn’t a major red flag, but it is something to watch.  A drop into the .265-.270ish range is possible, and that’s going to hurt his value.

The other issue is his potential to settle into a platoon role.  While the split wasn’t quite as apparent in his rookie season (he hit .293, but with just 1 HR and courtesy of a .402 BABIP and 26.9% strikeout rate), it was clear as day in 2016:

  • vs. RHP – .303/.374/.467
  • vs. LHP – .236/.321/.278

It’s also notable that he had a similar split at Double-A in ’14, making his ’15 success seem more and more far-fetched:

  • vs. RHP – .353/.411/.444
  • vs. LHP – .207/.233/.256

He would be on the favorable side of things, which helps, but it is a bit of a drain on his potential.  Obviously the speed helps, because it’s down across the game, and his potential to put up a .270/10/20 line, even as part of a platoon, would make him a valuable fantasy asset.  Just keep things in perspective, given the risks involved.

You may want to value him as a .300/20/20 type player, but that’s not likely to happen.  As long as you value him accordingly he’s well worth owning.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, MILB.com

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catcher03/20/1702/28/17
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Shortstop02/13/1703/15/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
03/19/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
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Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

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