Yermin Mercedes, who opened the season with hits in his first eight plate appearances and kept producing to the end of his first month in the majors, was named American League Rookie of the Month for April on Monday.
Mercedes, 28, batted .415/.455/.659 with a 1.113 OPS, five home runs and five doubles in 22 games. His eight hits in a row were the most to begin a season in baseball’s modern era since 1900. Mercedes entered the year with one major-league plate appearance.
Mercedes’ 34 hits are a Sox rookie record in March/April, breaking the mark of 31 set by Jose Abreu in 2014. He became the 10th player in AL history and the first since Brent Abernathy and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 to have two four-plus-hit games in his first 17 games and is the first Sox player to have five three-hit games in his first 18 games.
A 5-11, 245-pound catcher who has been used almost exclusively as a designated hitter by manager Tony La Russa, Mercedes slugged a 485-foot homer against Royals right-hander Brad Keller on April 8 at Guaranteed Rate Field, the longest in the majors this season. He owns five of the six longest Sox homers and has the longest average distance, 444 feet (minimum five homers), in the majors.
Getting his first opportunity in the major leagues after 10 years in the minor leagues, the former Rule 5 Draft selection quickly become a fan favorite. “Yerminator” T-shirts have circulated and a “Yerminator” hamburger is already on the menu at a restaurant not far from Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Now, everybody’s doing stuff for me, like T-shirts, like the burger, everything,” Mercedes said recently. “So that’s the reason I’m working hard every day, to be part of my fans, my people next to me. Just so excited. A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have believed that I would be at this point right now.
“I never imagined I would be here,” Mercedes said recently. “Now we’re here, keep going. Don’t put the head down. Just keep doing what I’m doing every day to keep it at that point. That’s great for me because I’m with my people, with my fans. So I’m excited for that.”
Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, who was 4-0 with an ERA of 0.72 and had allowed seven hits in four starts, was a candidate for AL Pitcher of the Month. Rodon, who pitched a no-hitter against the Indians, was beaten out by Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43), who had 62 strikeouts in 37⅔ innings over six starts.