Cubs outfielder Michael Hermosillo’s has had a non-linear path back to the the big leagues. But even after a rollercoaster career, he continued to search for an approach at the plate to help him take the next step.
Hermosillo got his first opportunity to play in the majors with the Angels in 2018 at the age of 22. He’d have brief cups of coffee over the next three seasons, but he was never able to stick on the major-league roster, spending most of his time in the minors before ultimately becoming a free agent in November.
“I’ve definitely gone through growing pains in my career,” Hermosillo told the Sun-Times. “A lot of ups and downs to try to find who I was as a player.”
But Hermosillo’s road back to the big leagues brought to his hometown Cubs last offseason and with the work he’d started before leaving LA and getting information with his new team, it was exactly what he needed.
He knew something had changed and after a few tweaks with some added information, the downstate Ottawa native began to put up some eye-popping numbers and put himself on the team’s radar.
Hermosillo was having the best offensive season of his career for Triple-A Iowa this season, slashing .306/.446/.592 with 10 doubles and 10 homers in 43 games before joining the Cubs on Aug. 17.
If it wasn’t for a hamstring injury that forced him to go on the IL in late July, there was a chance he could have been called up even sooner.
“Lots of work,” he said. “And a lot of the work started when I was still with the Angels. When I got to the Cubs and got around the staff here, they showed me some different things. Things I was good at.”
“If you talked to some of the people who were helping me with the Angels, I don’t think they’d be surprised.”
One of the areas where Hermosillo saw his greatest improvement at the plate was his power and the mix of power and speed is one reason he’s still an intriguing talent. He feels his adjustment has helped him tap into that power.
“For sure,” he said. “They showed me what some of my strengths were and areas where I could get stronger. One of the things they showed me that really helped was the counts that I do a lot more damage on.”
Players who haven’t had success in some places or haven’t gotten opportunity and thriving in their first opportunity with the Cubs has been a common theme. With so many at-bats available as the season winds down, a few have started to make a name for themselves.
Outfielder Rafael Ortega and Patrick Wisdom are the two biggest examples of that. Ortega has been one of baseball’s best leadoff hitters since being given the duties. Wisdom has become a serious power threat every at-bat and is just one home run shy of tying the Cubs’ franchise record for rookie home runs.
“I know what I can do, and other people know what we can do,” Wisdom said on Saturday. “I think there’s a reason why we’re here and why we’re playing well, like we are.”
At the age of 26, Hermosillo still has a chance to get things going entering what is considered to be the prime years of his career. But after watching what guys like Wisdom, who had been written off, have been able to do, he has no problem flourishing as a late bloomer.
“What Patrick has been able to do with this opportunity is incredible,” Hermosillo said. “There’s a chance for all of us to do that and make a name for ourselves despite our previous stops.
“If you look around the game, it happens all the time. Every year, there are guys who have had to find their spot in different places and have had lots of success. I feel like this is a good chance for me to do that.”