- Yermin Mercedes is the early AL leader among rookies, with 16 hits and a .556 OBP
- The White Sox designated hitter has more extra-base hits than strikeouts through his first eight games
- Read on for a look at the AL ROY race, full odds, and betting analysis two weeks into the young season
At 28 years old, Yermin Mercedes has already seen more baseball than many of his fellow rookies will experience over the remainder of their careers, with over 600 games in the minor leagues and another 100-plus games in his native Dominican Republic. With one major-league at-bat coming into this season, few gave him much of a shot in the AL Rookie of the Year odds, with the Chicago White Sox designated hitter off the board at the start of the season.
But a hot start to the campaign has changed all that, with the “Yerminator” – as White Sox fans now call him – having moved up to third-favorite at +800. Is that an overreaction or should he be even shorter?
2021 AL Rookie of the Year Odds
|Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays (Hitter)||+350|
|Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners (Hitter)||+650|
|Yermin Mercedes, Chicago White Sox (Hitter)||+800|
|Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays (Hitter)||+1000|
|Akil Badoo, Detroit Tigers (Hitter)||+1000|
|Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles (Hitter)||+1200|
|Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox (Hitter)||+1200|
|Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays (Pitcher)||+1500|
|Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles (Hitter)||+1500|
|Triston McKenzie, Cleveland (Pitcher)||+1500|
|Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers (Pitcher)||+1500|
|Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox (Hitter)||+1500|
|Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox (Hitter)||+2000|
|Garrett Crochet, Chicago White Sox (Pitcher)||+2200|
|Andrew Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (Hitter)||+2500|
|Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays (Two-Way)||+2500|
|Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox (Pitcher)||+2500|
|Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners (Hitter)||+2500|
|Bobby Bradley, Cleveland (Hitter)||+2500|
|Luis Patino, Tampa Bay Rays (Pitcher)||+3000|
|Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers (Pitcher)||+3000|
|Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers (Pitcher)||+3000|
|Taylor Trammell, Seattle Mariners (Hitter)||+3000|
Odds as of April 13th at BetMGM.
With Eloy Jimenez lost for much of the season due to a ruptured tendon, Mercedes seized on the opportunity that was handed to him. In just his second career game, against the Los Angeles Angels, the Dominican went 5-for-5 with four RBI. Not only that, he went on to set a modern MLB record by beginning the season with eight straight hits.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 4, 2021
He went on to reel off a six-game hitting streak, batting .556 over that run, working his way from eighth in the batting order to fifth, as Chicago went 4-2 over that span.
I’ll Be Back, Back, Back
While his consistency at the plate was certainly impressive, the Yerminator wasted little time showing his power as well. He homered in his second game of the season in Anaheim, and then turned the White Sox’ home opener into a display of muscle, connecting on the third-longest home run by a Sox player in the history of Guaranteed Rate Field.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 8, 2021
At 485 feet, it was behind only a pair of moon shots hit by Joel Borchard and Frank Thomas.
Can Mercedes Keep It Up?
The million-dollar question with Mercedes, as with all rookies really, is whether he is for real. Starting the season going 16-for-32 with a slugging percentage of .781 is all well and good, but he’s only eight games into his season, and nine games into his MLB career.
One significant reason to like Mercedes’ ROY chances is opportunity. With Jimenez out likely until the playoffs, the White Sox needed someone to jump into the mix and provide a productive bat. Mercedes has done that, and at 28, with almost 10 years of minor-league ball on his resume, he knows how to ride out the highs and lows of a long season.
The Yermínator is making a name for himself. pic.twitter.com/XqZJtIDNnB
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 9, 2021
Interestingly, too, even in those minor-league seasons, Mercedes almost seemed to get better at the plate as he moved up each level. For instance, his OBP improved from .356 at high A to .376 at Double-A and .386 at Triple-A. It’s the same story with his slugging percentage, moving upwards from .478 to .647 as he progressed through the leagues.
2011-2013: DSL Nationals, released
2014: 1.162 OPS in THE PECOS LEAGUE (!!!!!!)
2015: signed by Orioles
2017: Minor League Rule 5 pick by White Sox
2019: .968 OPS across AA/AAA
2020: launching titanic dingers in MLB Spring Trainingpic.twitter.com/jckCQQ5RAC
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) February 24, 2020
It’s admittedly early, and Mercedes is still very much an unknown quantity, but at +800 to win Rookie of the Year and with experience on his side, the Yerminator provides good value.
Pick: Yermin Mercedes (+800)