As mentioned earlier, corner outfielder Jeremy Hermida is on his way out of Florida, where he has spent the last four seasons as an underachieving former first-round pick, and headed to the Boston Red Sox, where he will fulfill an as-of-yet undetermined role. In return, the Marlins received two lefty pitchers in Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez, neither of whom are particularly impressive.
Remember what I said earlier about leverage? This was it at it’s finest. The league knew the Marlins were seriously considering non-tendering Hermida after yet another subpar offensive season, and as a result the team probably received few if any decent offers for him.
That being said, is this a bad deal? Let’s explore a bit.
What we gave up
I’ve spoken plenty about Hermida’s problems, so I won’t go into too much more detail here. He is what he is: a player with decent plate patience, declining pop, and little to no defensive prowess whatsoever. Players like this aren’t particularly a sparse commodity.
Those of the Red Sox faithful looking for the silver lining have already begun pointing at Hermida’s large home/road splits. I agree, Landshark Stadium is a deathbed for left-handed power, but I would not immediately plug the difference between the splits and call it a day.
Hermida’s home OPS: .721
Hermida’s road OPS: .815
As of right now, Hermida’s just around a league average hitter. Now, he’s moving into the American League and away from Landshark Stadium. Beyond that, he’s stepping into Fenway Park, a notorious hitters park. What’s the result? I’d say after park adjustment, the numbers probably aren’t a whole lot different. I do think Hermida suffered a bit of a power loss by playing in South Florida, but given that we already park adjust these values to try and get a neutral result, I think some of that effect is already diminished. Could he really be a .354 wOBA hitter instead of a .330 now that he moves from Landshark Stadium? I’d say just from regressiont that it’s more likely for him to be a .340-.345 wOBA hitter with the move, and that is if you buy the large split as signficant after park adjustment.
However, you go back to worrying about his defense. Marlins fans have been clamoring for his head for the last two years in part because he isn’t even a mediocre defender in the outfield. To his credit, some metrics like Plus/Minus and TotalZone seem to think of him as more of an average defender, but UZR has him pegged as well below average. I’ve regressed and provided a projection before, which came out to something in the order of -4.5 runs per 150 games.
Toss in some of Hermida’s classically poor baserunning and what do you end up with? To be generous, I’ll give him a .345 wOBA without accounting for baserunning. Due to the current unavailability of baserunning numbers via EqBRR over at Baseball Prospectus, I’ll pencil Hermida in for a modest (for him) -2 runs on the bases (BP seems to be missing data between 2006 and 2008). This totals up to about 1.5 WAR over 150 games and 630 PA. After bumping Hermida up by 15 points of wOBA and regressing his terrible UZR totals with more data, you still get a little less than an average player. And as mentioned, Hermida has only displayed this sort of talent for a half a season in 2007, so Marlins fans cannot feel too bad that “they’re missing out.” For the Marlins, we’re really giving about 0.7 WAR of potential production.
For a player who produced very little for the Marlins, he netted very little in return as well. I had to look up the two minor leaguers that we received in return for Hermida, and the prospects do not look good.
Hunter Jones is a 25-year old lefty with a big frame and a small fastball. According to FanGraphs, in his limited major league time, Jones posted an average fastball velocity of 87 MPH. He has two other to complement that offering, a mid 70’s slider and a low 80’s changeup that does not have a good velocity differential from his fastball. He motored through the low minors, racking up strikeouts in the bullpen with his weaker stuff, but hit a wall this season when arriving in Triple-A Pawtucket. His K% dropped from a career of 24% to 17%, while his walk rate also jumped from 6.8% to 7.9%. This alarming trend continued in the majors, where he posted similar rates and gave up more home runs.
I looked at some of his peripherals at the Triple-A level over at his StatCorner page. During both stints in Triple-A, Jones got a total of 20.7% whiffs on his induced swings, not a bad number, but a little low for the Triple-A level. He showed very little capability in this capacity in his limited playing time in the majors, as major leaguers missed on only 13.2% of their swings against Jones.
Entering this season, Jones seemed to also allow an extremely low number of grounders, as his GB% was at 30% in the minors this season and at 28.9% in the majors. Jones did not seem to follow any consistent trend of in GB% over his minor league career, so my guess is that he won’t develop into a ground ball pitcher.
There was very little available regarding the other player acquired, Jose Alvarez. All I heard on him was a scouting report from Frankie Pelliere of FanHouse. Here’s what he said (I conglomerated his tweets; yes, I got my scouting from tweeets, blame the fact that I don’t know any scouts):
Jose Alvarez Scouting Summation, Part 1: Feel pitcher. Sat 86-89 MPH with the fastball. Avg command, good feel for loc./ reading bats
Jose Alvarez, Part 2: Spots avg 74-77 MPH curve. Gets too much plate, doesn’t know when to go out of the zone. Fringe stuff across board.
From that scouting report, there’s nothing exciting about this guy. In addition, when looking at the stats and his career trajectory, there is not much of interest as well. Alvarez has been stuck at the A level for two seasons, being promoted to High-A this year. He hasn’t performed particularly at the highest level so far, despite making the switch from starter to reliever. It is likely that the team will get nothing from him.
The Marlins had no leverage with Hermida and were likely going to get nothing out of him. It’s a shame that we had to sell so low on a former premium talent, but based on his production, the Marlins did not have much of a choice. Here’s wishing Jeremy Hermida good luck on turning his career around, whether it be in Boston or elsewhere.
Additional Coverage: Juan C. Rodriguez asks if Hermida is the most frustrating talent in Marlins history. R.J. Anderson covers the deal for FanGraphs. Tommy Bennet has got it over at Beyond the Box Score.