Welcome to the record books, Yermin Mercedes.
The Chicago White Sox rookie went 8-for-8 to start 2021, the most consecutive hits to start a season by any player in the modern era (since 1900).
Mercedes, who had one major league at-bat entering the season, going 0-for-1 in 2020, has started at DH the past two games and tortured the Angels with his two-strike hitting — five of the eight hits have come with two strikes.
After homering in the second inning on Saturday for his first career home run, Mercedes’ eighth straight hit came in the sixth inning, a double that bounced off the warning track in left-center.
The eight hits:
6. 421-foot home run off a 2-2 splitter from Alex Cobb.
7. Groundball single off a 1-2 sinker from Cobb.
8. Double to deep left-center off a 1-0 sinker from Cobb.
In his ninth at-bat, the Mercedes flew out to center field to end his streak.
Mercedes is a 28-year-old rookie who has bounced around three organizations, originally signed by the Nationals and spending time with the Orioles before the White Sox signed him in 2018. He wasn’t expected to be a big part of the lineup, but Eloy Jimenez’s injury has opened up playing time, with projected DH Andrew Vaughn starting the past two games in left field.
Mercedes has spent most of his time in the minor leagues at catcher, but does own a .302 career minor league average and in 2019, he hit .317/.388/.581 with 23 home runs in 95 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
“I’m so excited right now,” Mercedes said after going 5-for-5 on Friday. “I don’t even know what to say right now, or what I want to say, but I’m just so happy.” Before Mercedes, the only player since 1900 to get five hits in his first career start was Cecil Travis, who went 5-for-7 for the Washington Senators in 1933.
The overall record for consecutive hits at any point in a season is 12, shared by the Cubs’ Johnny Kling (1902) and two Red Sox players, Pinky Higgins (1938) and Walt Dropo (1952).