Chicago White Sox: 2021 grade for Yermin Mercedes
The Chicago White Sox had a lot of injuries to deal with in 2021. It started in spring training when Eloy Jimenez went down. Not long into the season, Luis Robert went down. Both of them were expected to miss multiple months which really put a dent in the offense. Other stars like Nick Madrigal (eventually traded) and Yasmani Grandal went down as well so they were struggling.
In order for the team to do as well as it did, they needed some unexpected production from certain players. They won the AL Central by 13 games so they received that help from a lot of different players. Of course, the pitching was fantastic as well but they needed offense from some of the replacement players and one of the biggest ones was Yermin Mercedes.
Mercedes made waves in 2020 when he was awesome in the original spring training. Unfortunately, he was cut off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not make the roster when they returned to play after a few months off because of the pandemic.
However, when the injuries started to happen in 2021, he made a name for himself. Mercedes was awesome in spring training once again and made the team for Opening Day. He was brilliant right out of the gate and that helped the White Sox win some games. In April, he was one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball.
After he came back down to earth a little bit with his production, he fell way off. He went from being elite to straight-up bad. Eventually, he was sent back to AAA and was never called up again. The emergence of players like Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn along with the return of the injured stars made it hard to crack the roster.
Of course, there was the incident where he swung at a 3-0 pitch and hit a home run in a blowout. Tony La Russa received some criticism for his reaction to it but the team rallied and kept their play on track. After some time in AAA, there was some more drama involving Mercedes as he appeared to retire but then ended up not. It certainly was a strange ending to a promising start for Mercedes.
The Chicago White Sox were lucky to have Yermin Mercedes early in the season.
2021 Final Grade: C
A lot of people turned on Mercedes but he was brilliant for the White Sox while he was on the Major League team. They battled through some very hard injuries early and Mercedes was probably the biggest reason for that. He gets a C because of the way it ended but he certainly doesn’t deserve anything lower than that because he was good when needed.
It is hard to predict what will happen with Mercedes. He was somewhat of a distraction off the field in the second half of the season and the White Sox have World Series aspirations going forward. There probably won’t be much room on the team by the time spring training rolls around.