Jeremy Hermida And The Expectations Game

Jeremy Hermida and his up and down professional career reminds me of Joaquin Andujar’s favorite word, ‘jewneberno.’ In 2002, at Double-A ball, he overshadowed his then and future teammate, Josh Johnson. The Marlins top Minor League prospect from 2004 through 2006, Hermida became only the 2nd player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in his first MLB at-bat, in August 2005. Since 2006, Hermida has proven to be an average MLB hitter, a poor outfielder and has received more fan abuse than an ACORN thug at a Minuteman rally.

But when you get into Hermida’s batting splits, you begin to get a sense of why he gets more chances than Earl Weaver’s first wife among baseball people.

Here are his overall numbers:
YR — AB — AVG — OBP — OPS
2006 – 307 — .251 — .332 — .700
2007 – 429 — .296 — .369 — .870
2008 – 502 — .249 — .323 — .729
2009 – 380 — .258 — .347 — .734

Here are his AWAY numbers:
YR — AB — AVG — OBP — OPS
2006 – 149 — .242 — .329 — .685
2007 – 219 — .324 — .401 — .949
2008 – 271 — .288 — .364 — .851
2009 – 186 — .231 — .327 — .709

Offensively, after having an OK rookie season, Hermida had a very good 2nd season. Further, buried in the numbers for that 2007 season, is a remarkable differential in favor of his ‘away’ stats – 57 points in batting average and 96 points in slugging percentage. In 2008, he regresses in his overall stats to numbers which are similar to his OK 2006 season. However, the advantage in ‘away’ stats not only remains, they increase to 85 points in batting average and 175 points in slugging percentage. On the road, Hermida actually had great and good seasons in 2007 and 2008.

So if you are the Marlins braintrust during the 2008 off-season, you know that you have a good left-handed hitter on the road, 3 full years of MLB experience at the age of 24 and a durable player. While your home field is not a hitters park, it does not explain the type of differentials Hermida has produced, so perhaps there is a chance that he can duplicate his road performances at home. Besides, other teams can read those stats too, which gave Hermida value. You can hear other GM’s thinking, ‘I bet that kid will really produce once we get him out of that silently morbid Death Valley …’

Two-thirds of the way thru 2009 and Hermida is basically repeating his 2008 [and 2006] season, with one important change. The home / away differentials have disappeared. No wait, they haven’t just disappeared, they’ve flipped. Hermida is hitting 53 points higher at home than on the road this season, while the power numbers are the same home / away. ‘Splain dat to me Lucy.’

So now is the time, right? Now is the time to give up on him? Wait, one more thing, he is maintaing his averages from 2008, despite cutting down on his strikeouts and increasing his walks. Statistically speaking, a player who improves in those areas should see his average increase. Also, his OBP is over .400 for August, not bad for an 8th place hitter.

So go ahead and cut him loose if it makes you happy. Like Harry Calllahan’s punk, I hope you feel lucky, because I think the guy will be consistent Nick Johnson-type hitter sooner than later. Besides, what’s another 2 months at this point?

This evaluation stuff, is no so easy Mister

Take a look at the list of first overall MLB draft picks below. For every Alex Rodriguez, there’s a Paul Wilson. For every Ken Griffey Jr, a David Clyde. For every Danny Goodwin, there’s a … Danny Goodwin. Listen, we are talking #1 overall here, which Hermida wasn’t, if it’s an inexact science with them, there are no sure things. In comparison we can say one positive thing about Hermida, he’s no Danny Goodwin.

First overall Major League Baseball draft picks
1965 Rick Monday Kansas City Athletics
1966 Steve Chilcott New York Mets
1967 Ron Blomberg New York Yankees
1968 Tim Foli New York Mets
1969 Jeff Burroughs Washington Senators
1970 Mike Ivie San Diego Padres
1971 Danny Goodwin Chicago White Sox
1972 Dave Roberts San Diego Padres
1973 David Clyde Texas Rangers
1974 Bill Almon San Diego Padres
1975 Danny Goodwin California Angels
1976 Floyd Bannister Houston Astros
1977 Harold Baines Chicago White Sox
1978 Bob Horner Atlanta Braves
1979 Al Chambers Seattle Mariners
1980 Darryl Strawberry New York Mets
1981 Mike Moore Seattle Mariners
1982 Shawon Dunston Chicago Cubs
1983 Tim Belcher Minnesota Twins
1984 Shawn Abner New York Mets
1985 B.J. Surhoff Milwaukee Brewers
1986 Jeff King Pittsburgh Pirates
1987 Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners
1988 Andy Benes San Diego Padres
1989 Ben McDonald Baltimore Orioles
1990 Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves
1991 Brien Taylor New York Yankees
1992 Phil Nevin Houston Astros
1993 Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners
1994 Paul Wilson New York Mets
1995 Darin Erstad California Angels
1996 Kris Benson Pittsburgh Pirates
1997 Matt Anderson Detroit Tigers
1998 Pat Burrell Philadelphia Phillies
1999 Josh Hamilton Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2000 Adrián González Florida Marlins
2001 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
2002 Bryan Bullington Pittsburgh Pirates
2003 Delmon Young Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2004 Matt Bush San Diego Padres
2005 Justin Upton Arizona Diamondbacks
2006 Luke Hochevar Kansas City Royals
2007 David Price Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2008 Timothy Beckham Tampa Bay Rays
2009 Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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