What can the Chicago Cubs expect from Michael Hermosillo?

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

We’re now at that point in the season that fans of bad teams are watching the worst iteration of their team possible. Stripped of nearly all its major league value, the Chicago Cubs are quite bad. Quite possibly 2012 bad. While it’s not exactly fun for players either as they get pounded into the dirt every night, it does mean a shot for a lot of guys looking to finally crack a big-league roster.

Enter Michael Hermosillo, a former 28th round pick out of Ottawa, Illinois (let’s go Central Illinois!) who actually has a shot to break out on a team with the space to accommodate him. As a former Angels prospect (#13 in their farm system in 2017), Hermosillo didn’t get much playing time in the majors to come into his own and the numbers weren’t great in his short stints in Los Angeles. On a brutal Cubs team with plenty of spaces though, he’ll have plenty of runway.

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Hermosillo is a bit of a similar case to guys like Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom: a guy who has shown high upside in the minors but hasn’t had the chance to play it out. Hermosillo’s earned his spot by absolutely lighting up Iowa, posting the best minor league season of his career with a .310/.448/.600 slash line and a 179 wRC+ in 183 plate appearances. He’s finally shown significantly more power while keeping the strong contact and on-base numbers that made him an interesting prospect.

What can we expect from the new Chicago Cubs outfielder Michael Hermosillo?

If there’s one thing that seems like a lock for Hermosillo in Chicago, it’s the defense. Hermosillo’s been worth a very solid 3.1 UZR in center over the 111 2/3 innings he spent in the majors with a respectable .971 fielding percentage across all levels and positions in the minors. At the very least, you can expect him to be far more stable in center field than Ian Happ right now, but it’s the bat where the potential to impress lies.

Hermosillo was hitting for so much power in the minors that it adds an interesting wrinkle into his case. It’s a big step forward from when he was your typical toolsy, all-around outfielder with a bit of everything. The likelihood of Hermosillo being anything more than a fourth outfielder with good splits is probably still low, but this is a different Hermosillo than expected. It’s not unreasonable to hope that, given the time to adjust, he can become a solid offensive contributor that hangs on for next year.

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As a fellow Central Illinois native, I really want to see Hermosillo succeed and, if anything, his call-up provides some life to this zombified Cubs team. It’s entirely possible that he really has found another gear and can bring that fire to the majors. Whatever happens, expect to see a lot of Hermosillo with the Northsiders over the next few weeks.