If you thought Yasiel Puig was the king of the bat flip or Nelson Cruz had set the standard for milking home run trots, think again. Those guys have nothing on Chicago White Sox prospect Yermin Mercedes.
Mercedes is currently representing Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League, and it was there he broke out a home run celebration unlike any we’ve seen in MLB in quite some time.
With the Tigres leading the game 2-1 in the top of tenth, Mercedes sealed the game when he launched a three-run home run to deep left field. Like everyone else in the ballpark, Mercedes stood and admired it as he slowly exited the batter’s box. Then he made sure all eyes were on him as he launched the bat with a two-handed toss and started his leisurely stroll around the bases.
— LIDOM (@LIDOMRD) December 20, 2017
Leisurely stroll actually undersells that by quite a bit. Michael Clair of MLB.com’s Cut 4 put a stopwatch on Mercedes’ home run trot and found that it lasted 34.8 seconds. That’s one full second longer than Nelson Cruz’s 33.8-second home run trot following his 300th career home run last season. According to Clair, Cruz’s trot was the longest recorded during the Statcast era.
Yeah, we know, some of the stuff Statcast keeps track of doesn’t really tell us anything about baseball. But this does give us some perspective of how outrageous Mercedes’ celebration was. It was a spotlight moment that energized the crowd. Like Jose Bautista’s bat flip following his walk-off homer during the 2015 ALDS though, it undoubtedly wouldn’t go over as well in MLB.
Speaking of MLB, Mercedes is looking to play his way into an opportunity with the Chicago White Sox. The 24-year-old catcher most recently played in the Baltimore Orioles system, hitting 36 homers over the last two season. He was selected by Chicago in the minor league portion of last week’s Rule 5 draft. He appears to be a work in progress, but moments like this will only fuel his confidence.
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