I used to be a big car guy. I’d read and mental masturbate over the pictures and specifications of cars portrayed in Car and Driver and Motor Trend. In high school, many of my friends were into racing and fixing up cars. It was Fast and the Furious before Fast & Furious. I saw some insanely awesome cars. I also saw plenty of hoopties. The best, or worst, depending on perspective, were those cars that were all show and no go. You’d hear the deep muffle of an exhaust, see the shiny rims and body kit, but pop open the hood, and niet. Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox has gotten off to a blistering start, notching 12 hits in 19 plate appearances. Is this Mercedes really a hoopty or a geniune luxury product? Let’s dig in to see if we can unearth anything.

Mercedes is 28 years old, 5′ 11″, and 235 pounds. The Nationals signed him as an international free agent in 2011. He spent three seasons in rookie ball before being released. He spent the following year in the Independent Leagues. Before the 2015 season, Mercedes signed a minor league contract with the Orioles, reaching Double-A. The White Sox selected him in the minor-league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 draft.

Throughout his minor league career, the walk rate was in the 8-9% range while the strikeout rate below 18% in every season but one. He exhibited power, as the ISO was above .200 in two seasons while the batting average was above .300 in six seasons. The swinging strike rate was often in the 11% range. He’s always shown good discipline with some pop and decent bat skills. Now, eight of those seasons were spent below Double-A but he performed well in the upper levels as well.

In 2019, Mercedes racked up 220 plate appearances in Triple-A. He clubbed 17 home runs with a 10.9% walk rate, 19.1% strikeout rate, .337 ISO, and .310/.386/.647 slash. In 75 at-bats during Spring Training over five seasons, Mercedes compiled a .307/..358/.560 slash with 23 hits, five home runs, six walks, and 18 strikeouts. So this production isn’t a fluke.

Now, he’s obviously not going to continue slashing .667/.684/1.000 on the season. The BABIP is a ridiculous .733. He’s had 19 plate appearances and seen 67 pitches in the majors. Pitchers are going poke and prod, looking for his weaknesses, then exploit them. Then Mercedes’s long-term outlook depends on how he adjusts to the adjustments.

So far this season, he has seen a diverse number of pitches: 31 fastballs, 21 breaking stuff, and 15 of the offspeed variety. The xBA has been .575 on fastballs, .265 on breaking balls, and .489 on offspeed pitches while the xSLG has been .865, .740, and .997 respectively. The whiff percentage has been 5.9% on fastballs, 14.3% on breaking balls, and 27.3% on offspeed pitches.

Looking at the heat map, pitchers have mainly been attacking him low in the zone, with a preference towards low-and-away. I wouldn’t be shocked if they start busting him up-and-in more to see how he handles it. Mercedes is pulling the ball 56.3% of the time and was often in the high-40s in the minors, so up-and-in could be deadly if pitches miss because that’s right in the wheelhouse. It could make the breaking stuff away more effective though.

I went back and watched his at-bats and the thing that impressed me was his willingness to shorten up with two strikes. He’s not trying to be a hero on every pitch. There was one at-bat in particular where he got busted inside by a righty and he fought it off, blooping it over the second baseman’s head.

Rostering Mercedes can be difficult for most because he’s only DH or UTIL eligible. If you’re in a league where he has C eligibility, then he’s a must-add. The wheels can also fall off at any time with Tony La Russa replacing him at DH. With that said, while the pedigree isn’t great, Mercedes has proven at every level that he can hit. I see plenty when I lift the hood of this Mercedes.

VERDICT

Mercedes Benz W140 Air Bagged AMG 18's W/ Steer or Bull Horns & Peterbilt Stacks - YouTube

 
  1. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    so tatis…

    what are we thinking the rest of the season looks like? a complete lost season where he’s eventually shut down for surgery? worth gambling your season on him coming back in the next month and staying healthy?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      I have him in one league and will be holding on until some official announcement is given. I’d sell if someone offered value. I’d buy but wouldn’t give too much for him. Overall, I’m not too optimisitc

      • The Shape says:
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        What about in a 12 team standard keeper league. Keeper settings are 4 year max contracts and variable salary increases depending on player base salary.

        I had Xander B and Tim Anderson at SS with DeJong as a WW pickup. I traded Xander (salary this year and forward $19/$24/$34) and Pleasac ($25/$30/$35/$45) for Tatis ($5/$10/$15) and Elfin ($7/$7/$13/$18).

        This year could be a wash for him but I think his value going fowrard was worth the drop from Xander to Dejong. Plesac also scares me and I think I like Elfin better going forward. Impulse buy as I put that trade up within 5 minutes of seeing he hurt himself just to score a top bat at a premium. Should I have buyer’s remorse?

        • Son

          Son says:
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          Those are great prices for Tatis. You did good. Don’t sweat it. Just bad luck

  2. Have will smith as my catcher. Knowing that will play 100 games at most with offensive k as a stat. In roto league should I pick up Mercedes for A bench spot ride while he hot. Only have two spots bench. Benny (k.c.) would be drop. Just thinking every day playing time Is important. Thank in advance.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      If he has C eligibility, I’m good with making that swap. I do like Benny but he hasn’t been lighting it up so you could probably get him back if you want later

  3. Don't be a Hader says:
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    Bull or Bear??
    Josh Rojas
    Cesar Hernandez
    R.Tellez
    Mullins
    Naylor
    Garver

    • Son

      Son says:
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      bear
      bull
      bear
      bull but bear from current heights
      bear
      he’s a catcher

  4. Jimmy says:
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    Off topic…would you trade Biggio for Nick Senzel and McCutch.. I have McMahon and Edman to man the keystone…18 team 5×5..my only CF is Happ…who seems to be slipping into a platoon… one other option is Trading McMahon for Bryan Reynolds… your expertise is much appreciated!

  5. Son

    Son says:
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    I’m good with that the first one. Who are you dropping?

  6. Jimmy says:
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    Marisnick….

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Who? Exactly

  7. Umpy70 says:
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    I picked him up early but is only a UTIL, what are the odds he makes 5 starts at C or 10 appearances at C to gain that eligibility this year you think?

    I just have better bats right now to keep trotting him out there in that UTIL spot

    Thanks!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      I don’t think he gets C eligibility. You’ve got First World problems. Must be nice!

      • Umpy70 says:
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        it is until i realized that i have zero pitching :(

        dynasty league, trying to move Stanton/Olson or Lewis for something, but pitching is pretty scarce in a 12team 25 roster league. Right now my bn is Lewis Winker (i cant even find room for them)

        Sitting on gore and gilbert, hoping they can do something this year.

        • Son

          Son says:
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          I feel you. I’m in a 30-teamer and some teams will have trouble reaching 30 innings on the week. Ha.

  8. cable says:
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    h/h points 12 team league

    my pitchers start 5 per week
    L. Giolito
    J. deGrom
    R. Yarbrough
    K. Maeda
    F. Peralta
    C. Morton
    D. Bundy
    T. Mahle
    C. Burnes
    R. Ray(I)
    F. Valdez(I)

    was offered trade

    get….. Scherzer & Machado
    give…deGrom& Moncada

    • Son

      Son says:
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      what are the point settings?

  9. STL says:
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    Those are some solid array of stats you provided Son! He’s at least a G Wagon in my eyes.. might be something more high end if he can keep up the torrid pace. Hoping he gets C eligibility too, but agree that it’s unlikely to happen unless Grandal gets hurt for an extended period

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Thanks, STL!

      I hope the heater continues as well. It won’t but one can dream. I just hope that he does enough to remain the DH. I have no optimism in him gaining C eligibility, as Zack Collins will likely get all the backup duties

  10. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Excellent coverage of a very real/current topic, I figure, on a lot of fantasy owners’ minds. You helped me directly with a decision for my team.

    Thanks for the write-up as always, Son.

    Jolt

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Thanks for reading, Jolt

  11. Harley Earl says:
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    Interesting piece Son!

    I have one share of Mercedes. Grabbed him in my dynasty league the day he played his first game, then didn’t pick him up in the other leagues because I didn’t want to go Whole Hog investing in him with every team. Now I kinda wish I had.

    Just curious, because I can’t seem to find this anywhere. I did read that LaRussa carried Yermin on the roster mainly to have a third catcher available. So, my question is, will Yermin ever actually play catcher? I have him in Yahoo and he’s “Util” designated there, which makes no sense but that’s what he is. I’m just hoping he might get some sort of position eligibility. Do you think he’ll ever touch the field, or is he that horrendous?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      I’m not optimistic that he gains C eligibility but that is an interesting find about LaRussa. Hopefully he does because that would be a boon for his value. I’m not sure about his defensive prowess.

  12. Hamilton Hernandez says:
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    Would you drop Will Smith (LA) for him?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Only if he has C eligibility

  13. Kris says:
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    What kind of starting pitcher should Mercedes fetch me in a league where he only qualifies at U? Is Morton asking to much?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Yeah, too ambitious. I doubt you’d be able to get much for him right. The lack of eligibility and small sample size

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