As if there were ever a doubt, White Sox designated hitter Yermín Mercedes was named MLB’s American League Rookie of the Month on Monday.
While the news is far from shocking, it’s a jaw-dropping achievement for a rookie campaign that began as an experimental replacement for star slugger Eloy Jiménez. It’s one thing to show up and show out, but it’s another to successfully fill a Silver Slugger-shaped hole in the lineup.
Mercedes hit the ground running and become the first player in modern baseball history to start an MLB season with eight consecutive hits. That in itself might have earned him a bid for the award. But Yermania refused to subside, and Mercedes ended the month of April with a .415/.455/.659 slash line, along with five home runs, five doubles and 16 RBIs.
Aside from Carlos Rodón’s no-hitter, Mercedes’ breakout performance has been the brightest spot of the White Sox’ early season. In just one month in the majors, he hit the third-longest home run ever by a White Sox player at Guaranteed Rate Field, had a hamburger named after him and can safely call himself the lineup’s biggest threat. And the best part? He’s having an absolute blast doing it.
For almost every high the White Sox had in the early part of the season, there's a low that followed suit. And while things aren’t picture-perfect on the South Side, this is a wave that fans, the team and Mercedes should ride into the month of May.