06/04/2002 2:42 pm ET
Marlins make OF Hermida first pick
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Marlins' round-by-round picks
MIAMI -- When the Marlins scouts look at Jeremy Hermida, they see a frame and a swing that reminds them of former Yankees All-Star Paul O'Neill.
So when Florida saw Hermida's name still on the board, they wasted little time selecting him with the 11th pick overall Tuesday in the First-Year Player Draft.
A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Hermida has the ability to hit for power and average.
The Wheeler High School student in Marietta, Ga., is projected as a right fielder for Florida. His throwing arm is average and he runs well for 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds. In school, he played center field and pitched.
Andy Van Slyke-type body. Strong, athletic with solid baseball tools. Can spank left field gap. Like to extend, but can bring hands in, turn on ball and smoke it. Ball really jumps off bat. Makes plays defensively.
"The best similarity physically, he will remind you of Paul O'Neill," said Jim Fleming, the Marlins VP of Player Development and Scouting. "He's a big, strong guy. He has long legs, and a beautiful swing. This is one of those swings that doesn't come along very often. In the years I've been scouting, only a couple of swings that -- to me -- fit in this category."
Along with the O'Neill comparisons, Hermida likens himself to Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green.
"I'm like Shawn Green in the way I swing and my approach to the game," Hermida said.
Fleming, who heads the Marlins draft, saw Hermida play three times this season. Early on, there was some concern because he sprained his right ankle on a patch of wet grass while pitching. "I'm close to 100 percent," he said.
As he became healthy, his statistics climbed.
Hermida finished up hitting .485 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 68 at-bats. He showed some speed by stealing nine bases. As a pitcher, he was 3-3 and was clocked throwing 90 mph. "Pitching isn't my strong point."
"If you look at his stats, they are not real flowery because he had some downtime," Fleming said. "By the end of the year, every team was in there to see him. His final three weeks of the season, he put up some extremely good numbers and drew tons of attention."
Fleming felt the outfielder could have gone higher, and the Marlins are thrilled he was available at No. 11.
"He was in a lot of people's mix," Fleming said. "Let me put it this way, we were happy he was there.
"We took him strictly as a left-handed hitter. He has a combination of power and the ability to hit. We're very, very excited about getting him. He's got a chance of being an exceptional hitter."
Next step is getting him signed.
Neither Fleming nor Hermida envisions a problem.
"I'm pretty sure things will work out," said Hermida, who added his representatives may begin contract talks with the Marlins in a few days.
"Signing a first-round pick is never easy," Fleming said. "We feel like we'll get him signed and get him out to play. We didn't take anybody off the board because of signability this year. In some years you do. We didn't have an apprehension in this pick that there was going to be any difficulties. ... We'll start talking as soon as we can."
Joe Frisaro covers the Marlins for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.