Energy, New Look Have Herrera 'presenting Beautifully' to Kapler - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Energy, New Look Have Herrera 'presenting Beautifully' to Kapler

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    Energy, New Look Have Herrera 'presenting Beautifully' to Kapler
    CSNPhilly.com
    Energy, new look have Herrera 'presenting beautifully' to Kapler

    CLEARWATER, Fla. – Odubel Herrera showed up to Phillies camp with a new look Sunday. 
     
    Bronze-tipped dreadlocks. A bronze goatee.
     
    Manager Gabe Kapler, who encourages players to present themselves in a way that makes them feel confident, was impressed with his centerfielder's style – and more.
     
    "He looks amazing," Kapler gushed. "He looks incredible. I think he is just physically presenting beautifully right now. He has a lot of energy. Obviously his smile is big and bold. He looks kind of cool. The hair is kind of cool and the beard, but more importantly he is in incredible athletic condition. You can tell he has put a lot of work in and we're excited about what's to come for Odubel."
     
    Herrera, 26, is entering his fourth season in the majors, all with the Phillies. He has been the team's best player the last three seasons, leading the club in runs (218), hits (462), batting average (.288), doubles (93), extra-base hits (142), times on base (690), OPS (.774) and total bases (690) over that span.
     
    Herrera sputtered at times in the first half of last season, but was outstanding, posting a .887 OPS over his final 88 games in 2017. 
     
    When Herrera is motivated and focused, he is an electric player. But it's no secret that he can occasionally be undisciplined, making baserunning blunders, forgetting how many outs there are and not running out balls.
     
    So it was kind of interesting to hear Kapler say he planned on using Herrera as an example during Sunday night's team welcome gathering at a Clearwater restaurant. Kapler encouraged players to dress in whatever attire that made them feel "confident." He planned to address the group and trumpet his season theme of being "bold." A video presentation was planned.
     
    "We're going to show some video tonight of Odubel on the bases and his ability to really change a play with his athleticism and a good turn around second base," Kapler said.
     
    Clearly, the skipper is taking a positive tack with Herrera, as he has done with every other player. Kapler met with Herrera over the winter in Miami and his message was all about looking forward and being positive.
     
    "Not only is there a clean slate, but the meeting in Miami was much more about supporting," Kapler said. "Before we have an opportunity to really sharpen, we have to build trust, we have to demonstrate that we really care about somebody, we have to support. And then it's a whole lot easier when the time comes – and it absolutely will come – for us to raise the bar for our players and to have those more difficult conversations. 
     
    "So I didn't go to Miami or meet with any of our players to say, ‘Here are some things we need you to do differently from last year.' I just think that is not an effective human strategy. Rather, it was, ‘Let's talk about who you can be. Let's dream together. Let's see this as the sky's the limit, not just as a team, but as individuals. So what are your carrots? What do you want to go after and how can we help you in your pursuit of those goals.' "
     
    Herrera was asked about his goals.
     
    "The only one I can share with you is I want to help the team win," he said. "But I have some personal ones that I want to keep to myself."
     
    Kapler believes that Herrera, entering the second season of a five-year, $30.5 million deal, can have a huge year.
     
    "I told him he is an elite level defender in center field, which is absolutely true and fairly easy to quantify," Kapler said. "I told him with some small adjustments he could be one of the best all-around center fielders in baseball. We believe that strongly.
     
    "I told him the sky's the limit for him and I believe he thinks that about himself. There is no ceiling. He wants to be an All-Star, he wants to be a Gold Glove defender and he's not that far off from doing both of those things in the same season. There is no limitation for him, right. The ceiling is not low for Odubel Herrera. It's incredibly high if there is one at all."
     
    Focus and the occasional lapse in hustle have been flaws in Herrera's game. What happens if he slips up in 2018? Kapler suggested that Philadelphia's discerning fans could play a part in keeping Herrera in line.
     
    "The fans in Philadelphia expect us to give everything we have every night and they expect us to do it all over again the next day," Kapler said. "Those are high expectations. Our players are going to have the foundation and the tools to meet those expectations."