The Cleveland Indians found an everyday center fielder in Oscar Mercado. The rookie received some recognition for his play in 2019.
Oscar Mercado appeared in 115 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2019 and finished with a WAR total of 2.2. All of this was done as a rookie so fans may have been wondering if he was in contention for Rookie of the Year.
Mercado didn’t stand out as a superstar but I thought he was better than the eighth-best rookie in the AL. Oh well, not my decision.
The rookie solidified his spot as the center fielder of the future, pushing out the likes of Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen. Both players still have shots to make the roster, just not at the spot Mercado has earned.
He slashed .269/.318/.443 with that WAR of 2.2. He also hit 15 home runs and only struck out 84 times in 438 at-bats. All these offensive marks stand out before factoring in his value on defense where he earned a dWAR of 0.7 in his rookie year.
Mercado playing in Cleveland certainly drove down his ROY potential, as did the fact he wasn’t putting up the flashiest highlights. He just showed up and became a valuable player for the Indians after the St. Louis Cardinals foolishly traded him here in 2018.
The excuse of “there is no room for him in St. Louis” worked out great for Cleveland.
He is under contract for years to come and the Indians finally have a long-term option in center for the first time since Grady Sizemore. Or perhaps even since Kenny Lofton. Not to ramp up expectations too much right now.
Mercado didn’t get awarded for his play this year. I expect the honors will begin to come as he continues to improve as a mainstay in Cleveland.