2014 Draft Report Cards: Reviewing The Draft Classes
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Scout's View: Jeremy Hermida, of, Marlins
The Marlins affiliate at Double-A Carolina is attracting a lot of attention, and not just for its recent six-game losing streak or its prospect-laden pitching staff. While two Mudcats already have been to Florida this season on the mound--Yorman Bazardo and Logan Kensing--and one maybe soon in lefthander Scott Olsen, the team's top prospect is clear.
Scouts will poke holes in any one of the Mudcats pitchers. Finding holes in outfielder Jeremy Hermida's game, on the other hand, is becoming harder to do. The 2002 first-round pick was called the best high school hitter since 1996 first-rounder Eric Chavez when he came out of Atlanta's Wheller High, and he has lived up to that billing, batting .311/.450/.545 in 222 at-bats this year for the Mudcats. A veteran pro scout in to cover the Mudcats had plenty to see but said the consensus among his peers is Hermida is one of the minors' true elite prospects.
"He's real, real good. It's very difficult to compare him to Chavez because Chavez was stronger physically coming out of high school, but people said that because Hermida has such a good swing and such a polished approach.
"He still runs pretty well and he's got a true right field arm. He's a good defender. He's going to be a good right fielder. And he should hit for the position, definitely.
"The way I give present grades is how I think he'd do if he were in the big leagues right now. Right now, he might struggle to hit .240 with 12 home runs. That's below-average. But give him another month, more experience, and those grades might be better. He's going to hit--he's a .285-.300 hitter in the major leagues.
"And his power will continue to develop; he should hit for well-above-average power because he hits the ball hard so consistently. It's just a very pretty swing. There's still a tendency for him to overswing at times and go out of the strike zone too much; that's why I think he'd struggle if he were in the big leagues right now.
"There were questions about his power before, but power is the hardest tool to project. If you could have found me one scout back in 1999 who would have thought Brian Roberts would hit 11 home runs by the All-Star Game, I'd like to meet him. This guy can hit, and now you're seeing the power."
JEREMY HERMIDA SCOUTING REPORT
(All grades on the 20-80 scale, with 20 the worst, 80 the best, and 50 major league average)
• The Angels announced that 2004 first-round pick Jered Weaver will make his pro debut at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday against Lake Elsinore. Weaver, who signed just before he would have gone back into this year's draft, hasn't pitched since he led Long Beach State to super-regionals last year.
• Indians lefthander Jeremy Sowers likely made his last start at Class A Kinston, and is could be promoted to Double-A Akron this weekend. Sowers' command was slightly off last night in a 9-2 win against Lynchburg, however. The 2004 first-round pick out of Vanderbilt walked five in four innings, but still came out with the win--thanks to three home runs by first baseman Ryan Mulhern. Mulhern also could be promoted to Akron soon, depending on other movement in the upper levels of the system, according to farm director John Farrell. "He's really put it all together this year," Farrell said of Mulhern. "He's been and outstanding presence both in the lineup and in the clubhouse." Mulhern, who missed nearly a month after being hit in the face by a line drive during batting practice, is hitting .331/.410/.750 with 17 homers in 148 at-bats this season.
• Bazardo didn't have good command of his fastball early on in a 5-4 Carolina loss to Jacksonville yesterday, as the Mudcats fell two games back of first place West Tenn. The Suns swept the four-game series, and they say one of the reasons is simple--they aren't taking batting practice.
"It's too hot," Jacksonville third baseman/shortstop Joel Guzman said. "We've been winning without it, so maybe it's a good thing." The Suns now hold a 2½-game lead in the South over Birmingham after a six-game win streak. As for Bazardo, the 20-year-old Venezuelan allowed four runs on five hits, walked three and struck out three over six innings.
• Jacksonville has more help on the way, too, as third baseman Andy LaRoche’s assault on the Florida State League record book has ended after the Dodgers promoted him. He batted .333-21-51 in 249 at-bats for high Class A Vero Beach. The promotion should lead to Guzman sliding back over to shortstop, after he had filled in at third base for the injured Brian Sprout.
• Triple-A Portland led Tacoma 5-1 going into the ninth. But the Rainiers loaded the bases against Brian Falkenborg and Brad Baker before Chris Snelling--the leading hitter in the PCL--hit a grand slam to tie the game. Five innings later, Abraham Nunez hit a walk-off, two-run homer for Tacoma to win the game. Snelling who finally has been healthy (knock on wood), is hitting .375/.457/.574 in 176 Triple-A at-bats this season. The home run was his seventh.
• It was only a rehab start, but Odalis Perez did not look sharp for Triple-A Las Vegas. The Dodgers lefthander gave up two runs in two innings on four hits while walking none and fanning two. Perez was on a limit of 35 pitches last night and is expected to make one or two more starts for the 51s before rejoining the Dodgers.
• The trials and tribulations of Colt Griffin continue. The Royals’ first-round pick in 2001 has pitched in the last two games for Double-A Wichita, retiring three of the 15 batters he’s faced, allowing six runs and six hits, and walking seven. On the season, Griffin has a 4.37 ERA with one save in 23 appearances for the Wranglers, allowing 29 hits in 35 innings while walking 33 and striking out 20.
• Another Royals first-round pick who has disappointed early this year is 2003 selection Chris Lubanski, who hit .207 in the season’s first two months at high Class A High Desert. He is showing signs of life, however, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and his career-high 13th home run in last night’s 8-5 win over Visalia. The 20-year-old outfielder is batting .452-5-19 this month, upping his season totals to .250/.303/.488 in 240 at-bats.
• Still trying to get his groove back is Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart, who went 0-for-3 in high Class A Modesto’s 2-1 loss to Rancho Cucamonga last night. The Rockies' top prospect, who missed the first month of the season with a hamstring injury, is 0-for-15 in his last four games and hitting .224/.314/.388 on the season in 165 at-bats, with 14 errors in 42 games.
• Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, who won California League player of the week honors in his first week as a pro, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and will be out until next week. Drew is hitting .370-2-8 in seven games for high Class A Lancaster.