Mercedes' hot start earns him AL Player of the Week honors originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Yermín Mercedes is the MVP of the American League after four days of the 2021 season.
Congratulations to everyone who saw that coming. Take your talents to Las Vegas.
The White Sox rookie was named the AL Player of the Week on Monday, selected as the finest performer of the season's opening weekend.
Mercedes became the first player ever to go 5-for-5 in his first career major league start, banging out a quintet of hits in Friday night's White Sox win over the Los Angeles. He followed that up with three more hits, including a home run, the following night. Mercedes extended his hit streak to three games with an infield single Sunday. He's 9-for-14 to open the season, with six RBIs in three games.
While the White Sox have stumbled to a 1-3 start to their season, Mercedes has been the ultimate feel-good story. He started his pro career a decade ago, playing in the minor leagues with three organizations, as well as in independent ball. He made a brief appearance in the big leagues last season, making one trip to the plate as a reserve in one game.
Thanks in part to the injury to Eloy Jiménez, Mercedes received an Opening Day shot with the White Sox. He figured to be part of the mix of players Tony La Russa would deploy in a variety of positions in an attempt to fill the Jiménez-shaped hole in the White Sox lineup. This electric start to the season likely means more opportunity for Mercedes to keep swinging and keep contributing.
Now, thanks to sticking with his dream of playing in the big leagues for so long, Mercedes has some prestigious hardware to his name.
"At some points, I just wanted to give up. I just wanted to say, 'I don't want to play anymore. I don't know what I need to do, but yes, I want to give up,'" Mercedes said after his five-hit performance Friday. "But my family, my father, my mom said, 'Hey, you can do it, keep working. You can do it. We trust in you because we know who you are.'
"A lot of times, I say, 'Hey, I don't want to play anymore,' or 'I'll go home,' or 'I don't want to do this.' But every time, they're with me and they say, 'Hey, keep doing (it). You're the best. You're the best.' So I say, 'All right, I'm going to keep doing that,' because those guys say to keep doing that.
"I'm happy with that, because my mom, my father, my brother, they're happy right now because they say, 'You do it. You do it,' and, 'You're the best.' I say, 'Yes, it's for y'all, family.'"