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Jeremy Hermida


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MVP only start of big things for Hermida

Mudcats outfielder appears headed on fast track to Marlins

By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com




MOBILE, Ala. -- It's been quite a few days for Jeremy Hermida.

It started Saturday when the Florida Marlins outfield prospect went to Detroit to participate in the 2005 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game. It ended here Wednesday night, when he took home Most Valuable Player honors at the Southern League All-Star Game.


"It's a taste of what you're working for," Hermida said of his Futures Game experience. "I don't want to say (the Southern League All-Star Game) is easier, but after seeing every guy throw 97-98 mph at the Futures Game, this was an adjustment."


Hermida proved adept at adapting his game in Mobile. After striking out in his first at-bat, Hermida came up with his North Division team leading 1-0 and runners at first and second. His two-out single gave the North its second run of the game.


Hermida then was instrumental in breaking the game wide open for the North in the fifth. With the bases loaded with no outs, Hermida banged a Luis Gonzalez offering off the top of the left-field wall for a bases-clearing double. He added a ninth-inning single and run for good measure.


There's no question that his stint at Comerica Park over the weekend helped Hermida in Mobile. After playing in front of a huge crowd in his first visit to a big league stadium, facing the best Minor Leaguers in the world, taking on the Southern League elite was just another day at the ballpark.


"Detroit was definitely one of the best experiences of my life," Hermida said. "It was kind of nerve-wracking. Here, I was able to relax a little more, playing against guys I've played against all year, and I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of hits."


Prior to the start of the game, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron told the All-Stars how close they were to becoming big leaguers. Just how close is the 21-year-old Hermida? Considering the Marlins have never hesitated to bring guys to the Majors directly from Carolina, the right fielder might want to keep his cell phone on at all times.


"He's right there as far as being ready for the big leagues," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming said recently. "He's been good at every level and he's been showing more power at every level."


Hermida entered the All-Star break with a career-high 14 homers and .513 slugging percentage. He's also walked more than he's struck out, putting him on pace for a career-best .442 on-base percentage. As a result, Hermida was invited to participate in the Southern League Home Run Derby prior to the All-Star Game. He didn't embarrass himself, but he didn't make it out of the first round, finishing with three bombs.


"It's the first time I've ever done that," Hermida said. "I was a little juiced up and was pulling the ball a bit at first. We were just trying to put on a show for the fans."


Hermida's real show came during the actual game, and served as notice that perhaps fans in Florida should get ready to see it soon. Even if that doesn't happen, Hermida sees nothing but positives in his All-Star experiences in preparing for his second half.


"Sometimes it's worse if you don't play at all," Hermida said. "You get three days off, you come back and you're [rusty]. So you come to the All-Star Game and play against good talent. It gives you a chance to see what's going to be out there."

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