Rookie's key to success: 'Keep it Yermín' 

April 6th, 2021

The moral of ’ immense April success, with the White Sox designated hitter adding three hits during a 6-0 victory over the Mariners Monday, is simply be yourself.

Mercedes received that important piece of advice from starting catcher Yasmani Grandal during Spring Training.

“He talked with me and said keep doing what you are doing all the time,” said Mercedes, who was named American League Player of the Week earlier on Monday. “Don’t try to change if somebody tells you to change this or change this. He said, 'Keep it Yermín.'

“I’m Yermín, so I don’t want to do another thing. Just be the same guy all the time. Don’t change anything. If you do something, keep doing that. That’s helped me a lot. ... I tried to do another thing and it’s not working much. But then I came back, and I do Yermín.”

That philosophy produced a double, single, infield single and a walk in five plate appearances, raising Mercedes’ season total to 12-for-18 overall with six RBIs, four runs scored, three doubles and one home run. There’s also the entertaining addendum of watching Mercedes’ machinations in the batters' box or running down the baseline.

But here are a few other numbers pertaining to Mercedes, courtesy of the White Sox and STATS.

• His 12 hits are the most by any player in the modern era over his first four career starts.

• He is the first player with 3+ hits in a game three times in his first four career starts since Roy Campanella in 1948.

• His 12 hits are the most by any White Sox player over his first four games of a season, surpassing Ducky Holmes’ 11 in 1904.

• He is also the first White Sox player with 3+ hits in a game three times in his first four games of a season.

Grandal, who hit his 150th career home run on Monday, said he’s never seen a run like this, at least at the big league level. And the veteran has been there to guide his fellow catcher through the tougher times.

“Even in Spring Training, even when he was going bad there, I had to kind of put him on the side and kind of give him a kick in the behind, you know, so he could get it going,” Grandal said. “We all know he could hit, and we needed somebody to step up after Eloy [Jiménez] and it excites me that he was the one that kind of took over that role.”

Manager Tony La Russa intended to play Mercedes Tuesday against left-handed starter James Paxton and then give him a day off on Wednesday afternoon. But if Yermín continues being Yermín, not giving away any at-bats, as pointed out by La Russa, he’ll be a tough player to take out of the lineup.

“It's really important for him to know he's got to earn,” La Russa said. “If he has a good day tomorrow, he may play Wednesday.

“I know he shouldn't play the Opening Day at home. I don't think our fans are excited to see him,” added La Russa with a laugh. “I'd be booed in the introductions.”