For Dominican rookie Yermin Mercedes the first weekend of the 2021 Major League season was something of a magical dream. A wonderful fantasy from which you do not want to wake up.
“I am living a moment of happiness, I feel blessed by God, I feel special, satisfied,” Mercedes told ESPN Digital from Anaheim.
Mercedes is 14-9 with two doubles, one home run, six RBIs and two scored in the last three games of the season opener between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels, which culminated as ESPN’s night game on Sunday. .
Los Angeles won three of those four games against Chicago, a wide favorite to win the AL Central title. The White Sox will face the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park beginning the week before their home opener on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.
Mercedes, who had exhausted his only major league at-game in 2020, was 5-for-5 on Friday, his first appearance in the White Sox’s starting lineup. The only other player in the modern era to have five hits in his first start was Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators in 1933.
On Saturday, the 28-year-old designated hitter hit hits in his first three at-bats, including his first home run, extending his perfection to the first eight trips to the plate, a new all-time record. Chris Stynes of the Cincinnati Reds was 7-for-7 starting the 1997 season, according to Elias Sports and STATS.
During the streak, Mercedes had five singles, two doubles and a home run. Five of his hits came after having two strikes. With nine hits in three games, he tied a franchise record set by outfielder Darrin Jackson in 1999.
“First I achieved one of my dreams, which was to start the season in the majors, and then hitting eight consecutive hits, it was something special,” said Mercedes, who is tied with fellow Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Ketel Marte and outfielder. Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles in the major league hitters lead.
His first home run on “The Show” was hit by right-hander Alex Cobb with clean bases and two outs in the second inning.
“That moment filled me with joy because hours before the game I talked to my dad and he told me ‘you already gave me some hits and now I want him to give me a home run.’ It was special to be able to do it,” said Mercedes.
Originally a catcher, Mercedes was signed by the Washington Nationals in the Dominican Republic in 2011, when the boy was 18 years old, and released after three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, without a chance to debut in the United States.
The La Romana native and resident of Orlando, Florida, played in two independent leagues in 2014 before getting a second chance, now with the Baltimore Orioles. Chicago claimed him from Baltimore in the 2017 rule 5 draft and after hitting .302 with 83 home runs in 617 minor league games, he made manager Tony LaRussa’s roster as a potential third receiver and designated hitter.
The injury to Dominican outfielder Eloy Jiménez (he had been with an operated pectoral muscle for at least five months) made the decision easier for the White Sox.
“I think it’s the result of work and sacrifice, but it’s just the beginning. I have to stay focused, not try to do too much, just put the ball in play,” Mercedes said.