Chicago White Sox: 5 underrated heroes of the 2021 season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Chicago White Sox, Yermin Mercedes
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

Yermin Mercedes was amazing early on in the season for the Chicago White Sox.

Early in the season, the White Sox needed some to step up and help Jose Abreu shoulder the load offensively. They got help from an unlikely source, a third a string journeyman that had bounced between the Minor Leagues and Independent ball named Yermin Mercedes.

Mercedes turned into the full-time designated hitter and became an instant sensation. He won American League Rookie of the Month after his historic start to the season. The 28-year-old rookie opened the season going 8-for-8 then finished the month slashing .415/.455/.659. At one point, he was leading the Major Leagues in batting average.

Mercedes wasn’t even supposed to be the full-time DH. Jake Lamb was signed to serve as a platoon player at DH but Yermin Mercedes was hitting so well that Tony La Russa kept putting him in the lineup.

Mercedes became a fan favorite across baseball as well. He was affectionately nicknamed “The Yerminator”. A burger named after him was sold at a southside restaurant and Yerminator t-shirts were sold across the ballpark. In Denver, there were billboards of Major League Baseball stars throughout the airport and Yermin Mercedes was among them. He was the story of baseball.

Eventually, Mercedes fell into a slump. He briefly ended it with a walk-off single in a wild 9-8 victory over the Detroit Tigers in June before being sent down later that month. But his impact cannot be denied. Mercedes was the spark plug for the offense early in the season.

When Yermin Mercedes was sent down, even general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged that the White Sox wouldn’t be where they are in the first place without him. Because of injuries at that point, the White Sox needed someone with more defensive versatility. Don’t be surprised if you see him back in September.