WINDSOR, ONT. -- When Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox was a troubled catcher playing Single-A ball down south in the United States, Assumption grad Mike DeLong saw the makings of a major league player.

“When you see true talent you can work with any issues besides that,” said DeLong.

Mercedes was bouncing from team to team and landed in the Pecos league. A fed-up coach offered DeLong’s team the 21-year old catcher.

The manager of the New Mexico team wasn’t interested but changed his mind after DeLong pleaded and offered to room with Mercedes. 

“He was misunderstood,” DeLong said. “The nights we talked about it in the hotel room ‘I’m gonna be a major leaguer’ and now to see that happen. It’s crazy."

Seven years after that season DeLong is cheering for his friend who started the season with style breaking an MLB record with eight consecutive hits to start the season and career.

Mercedes is second only to Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout in hitting and owns the longest home run of the current season, a 485 feet blast against Kansas City on March 8th.

“He's there and he's there to stay. Next up is MVP that's for sure. Homerun champ and potentially rookie of the year. I'm calling it,” said DeLong, who has been invited to watch his friend take on the Cleveland Indians in late May.