Who is Yermin Mercedes? What to know about the new White Sox
It took a while, but Yermin Mercedes has finally pulled out a season.
The Mercedes was 8 and 8 before going to Mike Trout Angels center field on Saturday night for the eighth inning. By that time, the White Sox’s innovative catcher had already become a baseball sensation. He performed from 5 to 5 on Friday with success in the next three bouts and was a triple shy of the cycle.
Its perfect start is also historic: Mercedes is the first player of the modern era (from 1900 to the present) to start the season with eight consecutive successes, according to the Elias Sports Office (Through the White Sox).
So who is Yermin Mercedes, and why is she doing it for one of the best teams in the American League?
Mercedes took a long way to the show
Mercedes is 28 years old and has been in professional baseball for a decade. He signed with the Nationals as a free agent in the Dominican Republic in March 2011. But in those 10 years he hasn’t been on the organized ball. He spent the 2014 season in independent ball after Nats was released in August 2013.
And he didn’t even get to play in the top indy leagues. He had to try to get back in the United and Pecos leagues in southwestern America. He escaped 17 home runs and collected 1,124 OPS in 61 combined games at that level. These numbers caught the attention of the Orioles, who in September 2014 joined him as a minor league agent.
Three years later, the White Sox took him to the 2017 5th Division draft rule. Whatever the organization, he continued to be hit by a machine in large minors while he continued to work on his defense. In 2019 he broke the Triple-A (17 home runs, 1,033 OPS in Charlotte).
Mercedes got an invitation to the White Sox replacement site last season and then made its MLB debut with a one-on-one on August 2, 2020.
Mercedes turned the Sox into its No. 3 catcher
Mercedes joined the 26-year-old Chicago Opening Day list late. The Sox went above the list catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Director Tony La Russa saw Mercedes as a useful bank bat on the right side, especially after left-back Eloy Jimenez suffered a long-term injury.
Mercedes Yasmani Grandal and Zack Collins are backing up behind the plate. Grandal injured his knee in spring training and Collins is now expected to be a regular in the DH as quarryman Andrew Vaughn has gone off the field to replace Jimenez. All this leaves an opening for Mercedes to get the bats. After starting 8-8, he thinks it will be more than expected in the first few days of the season.
“You have to be ready, catch or DH, every time Tony wants to put me there” Mercedes told reporters to MLB.com. “The best I can do. DH, catching up, that’s what I think if I’m in the starting lineup.”
Mercedes hasn’t caught on for the Sox yet – it was their DH on Friday and Saturday.
Mercedes set up camp in the Dominican Republic
Mercedes is a common winter ball in Dominica. He was seventh in the league this past season, all with Licey. He hit two homers and cut .276 / .326 / .368 on 95 plates against the top field.
Mercedes ’house was following every move home on that first magical night.
“When the first success came (Friday), I thought, joy, the building was coming down,” said Mercedes ’father, Yermin Mercedes Sr. he told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday. “We were jumping, happy and screaming. And then second and third and fourth and fifth. It was just joy and happiness.”
The old Mercedes told the Sun-Times that he convinced his son to continue playing a few years ago when he was not progressing among minors.
“Because you’re a father, you don’t let your son down,” Mercedes ’father told the Sun-Times newspaper on Saturday. “You don’t let them give up on dreams.”