The last calendar year or so has been a rollercoaster for 29 year old designated hitter Yermin Mercedes. Could the next turn take him to the Brewers?
After being in the minor leagues since 2011, Mercedes made his MLB debut during the shortened 2020 season with the Chicago White Sox in which he received just one at bat. In 2021, he made the big league roster and began the season eight-for-eight at the plate, including two doubles and a home run. Eight consecutive hits to begin the season is a major league record.
Mercedes would eventually go on to win April’s AL rookie of the month during the 2021 season. He hit .415/.455/.659 and had five home runs with 16 RBI’s. Unfortunately his bat cooled off and before the All-Star break he was optioned down to Triple-A.
Upon being optioned down, he contemplated retirement but eventually decided to continue to play in which he spent the remainder of the season in the minor leagues.
During spring training of 2022, he suffered a fracture in his hand. This caused him to miss the start of the regular season and once healthy he was optioned to Triple-A. In the minor leagues this year, he accumulated 20 hits in 87 at bats, had four home runs, and drove in 13.
On Sunday June 12, the Chicago White Sox designated Mercedes for assignment in order to make room for catcher Seby Zavala. They now have one week to either trade him or place him on waivers in which any team can claim him and add him to their 40-man roster. Mercedes does have one more minor league option year remaining.
Should the Brewers target Yermin Mercedes, the right handed designated hitter?
Mercedes’ big league stats are limited to just 241 at bats in which he hit .270 and struck out just 17% of the time. His career minor league numbers show a .297 batting average and .849 OPS. The offensive scouting report on him is that he has the ability to hit the baseball, takes big hacks without compromising strikeouts, and is overall a very exciting/entertaining player to watch hit.
Defensively, Mercedes is not reliable. He can play catcher and first base, but his defensive track record to this point is very poor. He is best served as a designated hitter, which is a spot currently occupied by Andrew McCutchen, whose ability to play center field has diminished over the years. David Stearns tends to value versatility, and Mercedes does not fit that mold.
Knowing that Mercedes would primarily be a DH, it is hard to imagine the Brewers targeting him with the intention of using him at the major league level this season. Playing time would be very hard to come by and he may not move the needle all that much.
I would expect the Brewers to be very active over the next month and a half as the August 2 trade deadline looms. Unfortunately Mercedes is not the best fit for them right now, so I would expect them to look elsewhere for help on the offensive side.