Prospect of the Day: Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins


Prospect of the Day: Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins

Seldom does a first-round draft pick become a positive surprise, but it happens occasionally. Case in point: Miami Marlins outfield prospect Christian Yelich. Two year ago he was a promising high school first baseman, but now he's one of the best center field prospects in baseball.


Yelich was a high school star in Westlake Village, California, showing a sound swing and excellent defensive ability at first base. Scouts had mixed opinions about his future power development, and comparisons ranged the gamut from Will Clark to Wally Joyner to James Loney. The Marlins drafted him in the first round in 2010, 23rd overall, signing him away from college at the University of Miami for $1,700,000. His pro debut was short but impressive: .362/.400/.468 in 12 games split between the Gulf Coast Rookie League and Greensboro in the South Atlantic League.

Returning to Greensboro for 2011, Yelich posted an excellent season, hitting .312/.388/.484 with 32 doubles, 15 homers, 55 walks, and 102 strikeouts in 461 at-bats. Most impressively, he stole 32 bases in 37 attempts. Speed wasn't expected to be a huge part of his game, so this was a surprise. He also adapted to a new position, holding his own in left field and even seeing some action in center.

Yelich's campaign earned him a promotion to High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League for 2012, and the results are very positive thus far: .283/.368/.552 with seven homers and nine doubles, 17 walks and 35 strikeouts in 127 at-bats. His power production is increasing, and he continues to impress on the bases, with nine steals in 11 attempts. He's also moved to center field full-time this season.

Yelich is a 6-4, 189-pound left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, born December 5, 1991. A good athlete, he has slightly above average speed and is extremely adept at using it on the bases. His arm is average and he's still learning the outfield, but he's performed well in center considering his lack of experience. With the bat, he's got a decent feel for the strike zone and is tapping into his natural power with greater efficiency. Although he isn't likely to develop into an overwhelming home run masher, Yelich should hit for average, get on base at a good clip, and produce above-average power. His strikeout rate has been creeping upward as he ascends the ladder, but his power output is increasing as well, and he's still drawing walks at a substantial clip.

Overall, Yelich has turned out to be a somewhat different player than scouts originally expected. Although his bat has developed along anticipated lines, his baserunning ability and defensive value have been better than expected.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker