The Nippon Ham Fighters of the NPB have signed 31 year old former top prospect Jeremy Hermida to a one-year $500,000 contract for the 2015 season. Hermida as of last month had signed a minor league deal with the Brewers, but they released him so he could have the chance to pursue this bigger opportunity.
Jeremy would spend the 2014 season with the Brewers AAA team putting together a pretty solid year in 108 games while batting .256 with 16 homeruns and a .370 OBP. But they would never call his number up to the major league level throughout the entire season. 2013 would be a similar case where Hermida would spend the entire season with the Indians AAA affiliate, in 132 games he put up similar numbers with a .247 batting average and 17 longballs.
Hermida's last appearance in the majors took place in 2012 where he appeared in 13 games for the Padres compiling a .250 batting average in the miniscule sample size. When looking back the last time he played a decent amount at the major league level was during the 2010 season in which he was a fourth outfielder for both the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. He would play in 73 games posting an awful .216 batting average and .268 OBP with only 6 homeruns.
Jeremy was drafted 11th overall in the first round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Marlins and right from the get go everyone had their eyes on him. He would be on countless top prospect lists as he rose through the minors and in 2004 he would be ranked the fourth best overall prospect by Baseball America. He would take part in five seasons for the Marlins showing multiple flashes of possible star potential, but he often was hampered with different injuries.
In 2007 his first season playing more then 100 games at the major league level it all seemed to click for him as he would hit .296 with 18 homeruns and good defense in the outfield. Sadly after that though he was never able to replicate anything close to that kind of production again, not in the minors or majors.
Hermida going to Japan and having a successful season could open multiple doors for him in his career if he is able to do so. Jeremy could possibly stay in Japan if things go well and build off his new career their, or possibly land some type of deal back here in the states to get himself back at the major league level. But if things go wrong it could likely mean the end to a career that had a chance to be something very special. Stories like this show how even if a player looks great throughout the minors displaying all the tools in the world, you never know how they'll turn out once they reach the major league level.