The Chicago White Sox lost excellent young hitter Eloy Jiménez to a torn pectoral that is expected to sideline him for 5-6 months, and potentially the entire season. So, the White Sox — who hope to contend for a title this season — needed somebody to step up in Jiménez’s absence, and they have gotten that production in shocking fashion.
28-year-old rookie Yermín Mercedes — who entered the season with one career plate appearance — has been absolutely crushing the baseball. The 5’11”, 245-pounder started the season 8-for-8, becoming the first MLB player since 1900 to start the season with eight consecutive hits. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named AL Player of the Week.
Now, Mercedes is 15-for-28 on the season (a .556 batting average), and he hit a ridiculous home run in the team’s home opener against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
In the bottom of the first inning, Mercedes hit a 485-foot homer with an exit velocity of 113.3 mph. It’s the second-longest White Sox home run tracked by Statcast, behind only a 487-foot dinger Luis Robert hit last postseason. It’s also the third-longest home run ever hit at Guaranteed Rate Field, behind only Joe Borchard (504 feet in 2004) and Frank Thomas (495 feet in 202). And this is his first career game in the stadium!
WALK IT OUT, YERMINATOR pic.twitter.com/xROavZS1m3
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) April 8, 2021
That's the White Sox 2nd-longest HR tracked by Statcast (since 2015, including playoffs) behind only Luis Robert's 487 ft in the playoffs last year pic.twitter.com/8MxxPBjdQ9
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 8, 2021
Longest #WhiteSox home runs
Guaranteed Rate Field history
504' Joe Borchard 8/30/2004
495' Frank Thomas 7/23/2002
485' Yermín Mercedes today**
**first career game in this ballpark
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 8, 2021
Amazing. It’s obviously going to be quite difficult to keep hitting anything like *this*, but it’s an unbelievable start and story. And at the very least, it’s clear that Mercedes has some big-time power.