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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 19: Yermín Mercedes

He’s put a cannon arm and bat on display this spring, but the question remains: Is there room in Chicago for this White Sox folk hero?

Colorado Rockies v Chicago White Sox Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Yermín Mercedes

225 pounds
Age: 28
SSS rank among all catchers in the system: 1
2021 SSS Top Prospect Vote: 11
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 24
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 49
2018 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 42

Yermín Mercedes is a delightful human being, which makes it doubly hard to admit that he’s the odd man out in the four- or five-headed catcher hydra at the top of the White Sox organization.

Starter Yasmani Grandal wants to play 850 games per season, so he is going to shoulder the heavy load behind the plate, as the White Sox have paid him to. Jonathan Lucroy was a bit of a free-agent, retread gamble signed early this year, and has paid off handsomely with the bat and behind the plate (Dallas Keuchel just yesterday issued heavy plaudits for Lucroy’s game-calling skill, and manager Tony La Russa values that ability far higher than any other among backstops).

Due to injuries or his presence as a left-handed bat, Zack Collins likely parlayed his very strong offensive spring and impressive defensive one into a role on the bench and as third catcher.

Even Seby Zavala, already demoted to minor league camp this spring, has legit value as a defensive-minded catcher who once did possess a power bat.

Mercedes, the cuddly masher who has flashed quite an arm behind the plate this spring, seemingly has no spot. He made a brief debut in the majors last year, tearing up during his “welcome to the bigs” media conference and grounding out in his sole at-bat.

It may be the only one he sees in a Sox uniform. An entire fan base roots hard for him, but there may be no place to park the Mercedes on the South Side.

About a year ago, our Darren Black wrote an outstanding piece on Mercedes at South Side Hit Pen, as he mounted an unlikely bid to make the bigs. You’ll read a lot of good stuff about his road to the majors there.