Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL CentralAmerican LeagueAnalysisChicago White SoxMLB

2020 Mercedes. Finally Getting The Call?

Photo: Twitter; Yermin Mercedes

With all the rookies expected to make their debut this year, one name is not being talked about enough. Yermin Mercedes. Mercedes has spent most of the past decade in the minors. After being signed by the Nationals in 2011, only playing in the Dominican Summer League, was released in 2013. He signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in 2014 and finally got to see A ball action in 2015. He made it to AA in 2017, but was not protected during the rule 5 draft before the 2018 season started. The White Sox claimed him during the minor league portion of the draft. He spent 2018 in A+ the entire season. In 2019, after 564 games and 1,941 AB, he finally made it to AAA. In November of 2019, he was finally added to a 40-man roster.

Photo: Baseball Savant

Between AA and AAA in 2019, Mercedes looks poised to finally make his Major League debut in 2020. Hitting .327/.389/.497 with 6 HR in 42 games in AA, he had a wRC+ of 157. He was not afraid to take pitches, with an above average 10.2% BB% and a very impressive K% of 15.0%. He had no problem pulling the ball or waiting on it and going opposite field, 39.4% and 40.2% respectively. As you can see below, his home runs were not cheap shots by any means. After his impressive stint at AA he was finally making his debut at AAA.

Mercedes made his AAA debut, but it only took him about 4 games before he made a big impression. In his 4th AAA game he went 3-4 with 2 HR and 5 RBI. Although there was an uptick in his K%, 19.1%, which is still respectable, his BB% stayed about the same, 10.9%. In only 11 more games he nearly hit triple the amount of home runs in AAA, 17, than he did in AA. He also more than tripled the number of RBI he has in AAA than AA, 18 vs 62. Finishing off his first stint in AAA he hit .310/.386/.647(!), good enough for a wRC+ of 150.

His impressive showing last year definitely deserves some attention. He will have a chance to show off his skills during Spring Training. Although his numbers look good, he is no lock to make the Opening Day roster.

Mercedes, a Catcher by trade, is blocked on the Major League roster by newly acquired Yasmani Grandal and backup James McCann. Mercedes, who is not even considered a top 30 prospect in the organization, is also blocked by number 9 and number 24 prospects in Zack Collins and Seby Zavala. Both of whom have already made their debut, but have been unimpressive in their short time in the majors.

Mercedes has also played 1B, which is even more crowded. José Abreu will hold the spot down for a few more years, and even when he has a day off you could expect newly acquired Edwin Encarnación to take first. Again, there are prospects that will battle him for future spots. Number 21 overall prospect in MLB and number 3 prospect in the organization, Andrew Vaughn is expected to make his debut sometime this year. Gavin Sheets, number 12 prospect in the organization, is also another under the radar prospect who can play 1st.

Mercedes has a tough road ahead of him to get significant playing time in the Majors. Luckily for him, MLB added 1 more spot to regular season rosters. Do not be surprised if he makes the Opening Day roster as the 26th man. He may be the ideal bench/DH role this team needs to start the season.

All stats per FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

Michael Flores

Born on the South Side of Chicago, writing about the White Sox. Manage 2 dynasty teams and a yearly redraft team, also a Little League team. Follow me on Twitter @mpflores90