Charlotte Knights catcher Yermín Mercedes has been named the Chicago White Sox Minor League Player of the Month for August/September, and righthander Jonathan Stiever has been named Pitcher of the Month, as voted by a panel of Chicago-area media members.
The 26-year-old mashed hell outta the ball to finish the season, batting .317/.419/.646 with six doubles, seven home runs, 28 RBIs, 17 runs and a 1.065 OPS in 24 games with the Knights in August/September. He was one of the heroes of Monday’s must-win loss to Norfolk, going 3-for-4 with a double, homer and four RBIs.
The 5´11´´, 225-pound Mercedes hit .317/.388/.581 with 19 doubles, 23 homers, 80 RBIs and 54 runs in 95 games for the Birmingham Barons and Charlotte this season. The La Romana, Dominican Republic native was selected by the White Sox from Baltimore in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 14, 2017.
Stiever went 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA, 26 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP in five starts for the Winston-Salem Dash in August. The 22-year-old threw 16.0 consecutive scoreless innings over three starts from August 16-29, and struck out a season high-tying nine in five innings on August 4.
The 6´2´´, 205-pound Stiever had a stellar first full pro season in 2019. He went a combined 10-10 with a 3.48 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 26 starts between the Kannapolis Intimidators and Winston-Salem. With the Dash, he finished with a 6-4 record, 2.15 ERA, 77 strikeouts and a .216 opponent average in 12 starts after being promoted on June 20.
Also on Wednesday, USA Today named Luis Robert its Minor League Player of the Year. Steve Gardner’s story is stellar, and if you read it, you can’t help but find your blood pressure rising in anticipation for 2020.
There are Ken Griffey Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. comparisons, Birmingham manager Omar Vizquel is quoted all over the place, and there’s even a Bad News Bears reference. And the lede is pretty sweet:
He moves with the almost effortless grace of a certain Hall of Famer, combined with the flair of an iconic movie character.
Then again, Luis Robert has been turning heads since he started playing in the Cuban National Series at the age of 15.
Give it a look.