Prospect: Michael Hermosillo
Level: AAA Salt Lake
Age: Entering Age 23 season in 2018.
Height: 5’11” – Weight: 190 lbs
*20-80 scale. 20 is not existent, Major League average is 50. Good Major League is 60. Great Major League is 70. The best I’ve ever seen is 80. These aren’t given very often.
Floor: 4th outfielder in the major leagues.
Ceiling: All-star caliber starting outfielder in the major leagues.
Likely Outcome: Starting outfielder in the major leagues.
Summary: Everyone loves the story about the professional athlete that came out of nowhere. Guys like Matt Shoemaker really are a great story. Well Michael isn’t that story. As much as others may want to peddle that story, it simply isn’t true. Yes, he was a late round draft pick, and yes, he was more known for his accolades on the gridiron and his scholarship to play football at Illinois. But he was also a ball player that was very much on the Angels (and other teams) radar.
I didn’t get to spend a lot of time as a scout. I had other goals. But I made some connections and learned some things over those two summers. Really I learned two things.
1. Anyone over 6’2” that’s left handed and has a pulse will be drafted.
2. Athletes, athletes, athletes. Not ball players. Athletes.
Hermosillo fits neatly into the second, along with Mike Trout, Keynan Middleton, Andelton Simmons, and prospects like Jo Adell, Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh. See scouts watch kids play baseball. Baseball tells them where the skills are right now. But it’s everything else that suggests where the skills may be in five years. Scouts like kids that got good grades school, ones that started on the football or basketball team, ones that have goals outside of major league baseball (like being a meteorologist, Mike Trout). Athletes just have an easier time adjusting to failure than ball players do. Plus their natural ability tends to carry them through the low minors at a brisk pace.
Hermosillo was a good running back/wide receiver and a terror at safety. But he chose baseball. Smart choice. The Angels agreed to pay for all of his schooling should he elect to attend school, plus a well above slot bonus. Smart choice for Hermosillo, smart choice for the Angels. But it wasn’t easy in the beginning for Michael. He’d never seen pitchers throw that hard before, or pitches move that much. Adjustments were needed. First of all, Michael was a couple inches shorter and considerably lighter at the time, so there was physical development that needed to take place. But there was also the manner of refinement that was necessary. Hermosillo’s routes in the outfield were poor, and he showed dead-pull power, but not much else in the way of hitting.
The breakout really didn’t come for two more years until 2016. Hermosillo’s performance in the weight room and being on a nutrition plan really began to take shape. He’s a couple inches taller and very well built. Not only that, Michael quieted his swing and began hitting the ball back up the middle on pitches over the plate and on the outer half.
This past season, Michael was clearly well beyond the competition in Advanced A Ball. He was automatically the best player to step on the field every night and that was simply a product of development. The Angels promoted him to AA (all in his age 22 season, which is pretty solid on the age curve), which was a much more appropriate level for Michael to be at. He really struggled for the first couple months. This was his first time facing pitching in the high minors which is a huge step up. He was still getting on base at an outstanding clip which speaks volumes about his selectivity and value at such a young age. But after three months, Michael finally turned that corner (the way that athletes instead of ball players tend to do). Hermosillo had officially found his comfort zone. He was a completely different player. He had failed to hit higher than .234 in any month in AA before that but in July he hit over .300, was hitting for power, being more aggressive on the base paths, and still flashing the same ability to reach base as before.
The Angels felt the had officially outgrown AA which led to his promotion to AAA. Again, all at the age of 22. As it was with AA, AAA proved to be a much more fitting environment for Michael’s development. While he did hit for more power (the altitude in the PCL is quite favorable to hitters that make solid contact like Hermosillo), Michael’s ability to work a walk wasn’t as effective as it had been at the lower levels. His overall numbers were solid (.287/.341 6 DB 1 triple 5 HR’s 9 SB in only 30 games!), but it’s clear that Hermosillo can still learn a few things down on the farm.
Still, we do have a good idea as to who Michael is at this point. He’s a very line drive oriented RHB that can drive the ball up the middle. If pitchers make the mistake of busting him inside, Hermosillo definitely has the ability to yank these balls out of the park. Teams will likely begin shifting on him with more data becoming available but it shouldn’t hinder his ability to reach base. Hermosillo is also a smart, aggressive base runner that gets down the line quickly and can steal when given the green light. Defensively, Hermosillo is a good defender at all three spots, so it won’t matter where you plug him in at, he’ll get the job done.
What to expect: I expect Hermosillo to spend most of Spring Training in big league camp, learning from the big leaguers and getting exposed and accustomed to what expectations are at the next level (last Spring Training was valuable for him as well). I expect the Angels will keep Hermosillo in AAA until he’s ready for the next stage of development and they have at bats to offer him. The Angels outfield is obviously pretty full for the time being, but you never know when or how opportunity may arise. So Michael might be ready in May, or he may not be ready until the end of the year. We’ll just have to wait and see. It’s possible Hermosillo finishes the year in Anaheim and begins taking at bats away from Kole Calhoun. It’s possible he finishes the year as the Angels fourth outfielder. It’s possible he spends the entire year in AAA. Lots of directions we can go here.
Estimated time of arrival: September 2018, this year. Michael’s age 23 season.
Grade as a prospect: B
Grades Explained: Grade A player is a future superstar. Grade B player is a future regular. Grade C is a fringe major leaguer.