If you've been reading our daily waiver-wire column this season and you haven't added White Sox sensation Yermín Mercedes yet, I'm not sure what else we can say to get you to make the move. But maybe there's nothing we need to say. The man is speaking plenty loud for himself:
The man, the myth, the legend.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 8, 2021
Yermín Mercedes! pic.twitter.com/Vo24IaoOkm
You might not be able to tell exactly what happened to the ball from that angle, but the strut tells you the whole story. Mercedes hit that ball 485 feet, the longest batted ball since Sept. 25 of last season, and one of just 16 homers hit at least that far since 2017. You can string together a couple of singles with some good luck, but you can't fake 485 feet.
I'm not saying Mercedes is one of the elite power hitters in the game or that he'll sustain his current .556 batting average -- of course he won't. But he's sporting a .401 expected batting average in the young season, so even though this isn't sustainable, it hasn't been all good luck. And, while his 86.3 mph average exit velocity may not jump out at you, Mercedes' 113.3 mph max exit velocity is pretty dang good, and he's got seven batted balls hit over 100 mph and 14 out of 24 over 90 mph.
If Mercedes is eligible at catcher in your league and he's available, stop everything you're doing and go add him. It's not outrageous to say he might be a top-10 option at the position already. It might be a bit harder to find a spot for him if he's DH-only, as he is in CBS Fantasy leagues, but if you've got someone like C.J. Cron or Christian Walker on your bench, you should probably just drop them and pick up Mercedes. Can I guarantee Mercedes will be better than either? No, and I'm not sure I'd even bet on him being better if given even odds.
But there's opportunity cost to passing on Mercedes right now. What if he really is a .280 hitter with 25-homer power? What if he's something more? You're better off dropping someone who doesn't have enough buzz around them to get picked up right away and at least see if Mercedes can keep this up. Worst-case scenario, you drop him and find another bat on waivers -- they aren't that hard to find. But guys who show the kind of potential Mercedes has so far are pretty rare.
We talk Yermin Mercedes and Griffin Canning plus Week 3 Sleepers on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 Podcast. You can follow us to make sure you get the latest episodes when they drop on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
MIA Miami • #1 • Age: 28
I'm pretty skeptical that Hampson is a good hitter, but I'm not sure that matters that much if the Rockies keep hitting him at the top of their order and playing him nearly every day. He stole his fourth bases in seven games Thursday, and that alone makes him worth looking for on waivers. Add in the BABIP-inflating nature of his home park, and Hampson could hit .280 if he can keep his strikeout rate low, and that along with the steals could make him a must-start option. Add in that he should be a good source of runs and might hit 10-plus homers, and it's easy to get excited about him. Coors Field will do that.
LAA L.A. Angels • #47 • Age: 27
Canning closed out the 2020 season strong, posting a 3.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 28.2 innings over his final five starts, and he started out his 2021 pretty well. Facing a tough Blue Jays lineup, he did allow four earned runs, which wasn't great, but mostly limited the damage after a three-run first inning, ultimately allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out seven in 5.1 innings of work. His fastball velocity was up from last season and he had the feel for his very good slider early -- something he didn't have at times last season -- throwing 39 of them and garnering 12 of his 16 whiffs with the pitch. Canning doesn't project as an ace, but he might be able to follow his teammate Dylan Bundy's path to Fantasy relevance.
PHI Philadelphia • #99 • Age: 30
We're a long way removed from the days when Taijuan Walker was one of the more interesting young pitchers in baseball, and injuries had seemingly robbed him of a lot of what made him so interesting in the past. However, he looked like he found some of his old form Thursday, averaging 95.4 mph with his fastball, up 2.2 mph from last season and higher than any start since June 21, 2017. He allowed two runs on four hits with two walks over six innings while striking out six against the Marlins, and while that isn't the most impressive line ever, especially given the opponent, it was a nice start for a pitcher looking to turn back the clock.
Yimi Garcia RP
TOR Toronto • #93 • Age: 32
Before the season, Scott White had a bold prediction about Marlins incoming closer Anthony Bass: That he wouldn't get more than two saves before losing the job. Well, Bass has had two opportunities to get a save to date, and he's blown both. You could rightly point out that Bass and the Marlins got screwed over by a bad call on the game-ending hit-by-pitch, but I would point out that he gave up a bat-flippable home run to Jeff McNeil -- he of the four home runs in 2020. Bass has given up seven hits and six earned runs in just 2.1 innings to start the season, and while there's some bad luck involved there, it's not like he's got a track record of dominance to fall back on. Garcia doesn't have that either, but he's been the setup man for the Marlins so far and has been getting the job done -- and he had an 0.60 ERA in 14 appearances a year ago. I'm not sure Garcia is good enough to hold on to the closer job for Miami, but I am willing to bet he'll get the next chance at it.