Odubel Herrera had played a grand total of 13 games in the outfield as a member of the Texas Rangers’ minor league system through the 2014 season. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft and immediately converted him from his trade as a second baseman to a center fielder during spring training.
To say Herrera’s time in center has been an adventure would be to completely under-sell it. It has been at once both entertaining and disastrous. He doesn’t react well to balls off the bat and takes inefficient, circuitous routes. That was on full display Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs in what very well may have been his final start as a member of the Phillies.
Herrera played a key role in preserving Hamels’ no-hitter twice. The first came on the second out of the eighth inning, when Herrera used his speed to corral a well-struck David Ross fly ball on the warning track in left-center.
The second came on the final out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kris Bryant ripped a 3-2 Hamels curve to straightaway center field. Herrera ranged back to the warning track, overrunning the fly ball slightly. He attempted to find the ball in the sunlit sky, fell forward, and snagged the ball just before it could make contact with the ground, preserving Hamels’ no-hitter. Watch: