The Phillies second half collapse can be contributed to many things, but one of the main issues resulted from the lack of production from two veteran players who normally have good track records. Odubel Herrera and César Hernández both had their worst career seasons and the inability to make adjustments hindered the Phillies.
Odubel Herrera and César Hernández Could Be Out of a Job in 2019
Since being selected in the Rule 5 draft, Odubel Herrera never had a batting average below .281 before this season having a reputation of being a gap hitter, who never had below 20 doubles in a season. But it seems this year he settled for the long ball more often than not hitting a career-high 22 home runs.
Herrera has been a streaky hitter throughout his career getting into long slumps then immediately following it up with a massive hot streak. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year following an almost All-Star worthy first half with an nonexistent second half. Herrera looked completely lost out after the All-Star break only managing to bat .217 with four doubles, six home runs, and 19 RBI’s in 56 games.
Then there is César Hernández, who got off to a hot start in the first of couple months of the season to then find himself in a downward spiral the rest of the way. The 28-year-old threw consistency out the window after the All-Star break hitting .230 with seven home runs and 29 RBI’s, also striking out about 30 percent of the time.
Hernández had never hit below .270 before this year as it seems he moved away from his approach as a slap-hitter settling for power. Hernández did set a career-high in home runs and RBI’s, however, he also struck out at his highest career rate.
The common thread between Odubel Herrera and César Hernández, besides the fact they are both holdovers from previous management, is the fact they both are replaceable right now. Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery both saw significant time with the Phillies this past season and it wouldn’t be shocking if they overtook Herrera and Hernández at their respective positions.
Roman Quinn, courtesy of Herrera’s slump, started 31 games in the second half providing an instant spark from the leadoff spot. Quinn’s month of August where he slashed .362/.383/.586 with seven extra-base hits, seven RBI’s, and six stolen bases convinced many that he should be the everyday starter in centerfield.
Quinn’s offense coupled with his solid defense will the force the Phillies’ hand to make a tough decision this offseason and luckily for him, Odubel Herrera has left the door wide open. There is always the question of health when it comes to Roman Quinn considering he played through most of September with a fractured toe in his right but has proved to be a game-changer when healthy.
The Phillies exerted a lot of confidence in their 2015 second round pick Scott Kingery, signing the 24-year-old to a six-year contract worth $24 million in guaranteed money before even playing an inning in the majors. Kingery, a natural second baseman, moved all around the diamond this season, spending most of his time at shortstop. He actually only played four games second base.
Kingery’s didn’t have a stellar rookie season offensively, however, he did look more comfortable at the plate in the second half of season. Many believe Kingery would find better success playing second base every day, which at the moment is difficult with César Hernández, who is under team control until 2021, in front of him.
The Phillies have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including maybe parting ways with normally reliable players in Odubel Herrera and César Hernández. The club has made it clear that they’re willing to listen to trades for everyone in the organization except for Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins, so it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes.
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