Some MLB players are destined to make it in the bigs even in spite of having bad numbers in minor league baseball.
This can happen when he is a “tools-over-production” player as a prospect who ends up breaking out in the majors.
However, the opposite can happen too and is much more common: players with explosive minor league production that can’t quite make it in the bigs.
MLB is, after all, the hardest league in the world, and the jump in competition from Triple-A to the majors is noticeable.
Mercedes, however, made us all think, for a long while, that he was a legitimate major league hitter.
His debut as a starter was the thing of legends.
“Never forget when Yermín Mercedes went 5-for-5 in his first MLB start,” B/R Walk-Off tweeted.
Never forget when Yermín Mercedes went 5-for-5 in his first MLB start 🔥
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) January 14, 2023
It happened in 2021.
For weeks, MLB pitchers did not know how to get Mercedes out.
He seemed capable of being a .300 hitter with 20-homer power in MLB.
But his performance started to dip, and he was famous for being the player that former manager Tony La Russa failed to stand up for in his frustrating attempt to defend the so-called “unwritten rules” (Mercedes homered on a 3-0 pitch during a blowout).
He wasn’t the same after that episode, but truth be told, he failed to capitalize on his opportunity.
In that 2021 season, his OPS in the first month was 1.113.
It was .619 in May and .411 in June, when he found himself off the roster.
He spent the 2022 campaign with the San Francisco Giants, and had a .668 OPS in 31 games.
He could be a reserve player, but isn’t the star we all thought he would be.