While our guy Luis Robert didn’t record a hit in the home opener for the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field – a spot we figure them to win a lot of games – it was a jovial afternoon in Chicago that saw the home team take down the Royals easily.
First off, one cannot overstate how good White Sox starter Lance Lynn truly was this past Thursday.
Lance Lynn. What a performance.
9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 11 K pic.twitter.com/SLdNTP1nsn
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) April 9, 2021
Lynn went the distance in an old-school shutout, throwing 5-hit baseball and striking out 11 Kansas City Royals. Indeed, that was the lead story in what seemed like the perfect home debut for the perfect beer-barrel shaped White Sox starter in front of his home crowd for the first time.
However, there was another story in this one. After Yoan Moncada hit a beautiful home run backside, the career minor league slugger Yermín Mercedes hit one of the longest home runs in the history of the stadium. It was a dominating blast that went 485 feet into left field, and brought conversations of Sox legend Frank Thomas into the story.
Another quick word on Mercedes – after starting the year 15 for 27 – we believe at least for 2021, he’s the real deal. The reasoning for us saying this is when you watch his stroke, it’s short and quick to the ball. While he is a huge fella, he doesn’t have a long power stroke that is going to be prone to feast or famine. He’s got a little bit of a contact tool in his repertoire.
As for why Mercedes recorded just one big league at-bat prior to 2021 for anyone in the game? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. Sometimes in baseball, things like that happen, and then things like this happen where a 30 home run, 100 RBI bat sprout out of nowhere.
For the time being Mercedes is replacing the production at the plate that the injured Eloy Jimenez would have given the White Sox, who evened their record to 4-4 on the year against the Royals.
Finally, this team hasn’t even really got hot yet. In examining their schedule for the remainder of April, it’s really soft. This should be where Chicago takes a stranglehold on the division and emerges as the class of the American League.