Even though he has been the Miami Marlins best hitter this camp, this move was inevitable. The Marlins have reassigned star prospect Christian Yelich to minor league camp. He will start the season in Double-A, along with the Marlins top overall prospect, Jose Fernandez.
Mar 9, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (76) against the Washington Nationals during a spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Yelich had an excellent spring for the Marlins, hitting with a .364/.451/.818 line with five home runs. He only struck out seven times in 44 at bats and also walked six times. This is consistent with his minor league numbers, which show him having good plate discipline. Two factors played into the Marlins starting Yelich the season in Double-A, as I pointed out earlier this spring:
"I see no reason for the Miami Marlins to rush Christian Yelich for two reasons:He should be tested at Double-A first and see how he reacts.Delaying his arbitration"
So while Yelich was extremely impressive in his time this spring, it should be remembered that he has never played above Single-A. The jump from Single-A to Double-A is usually where a prospect is tested the most. The Marlins had no need to rush Yelich too fast and ruin his progression, as the Tigers did with Cameron Maybin.
Also, with the Marlins chances of contending in 2013 low, there was no need for the Marlins to start his arbitration clock. If Yelich comes up after the Super-Two cut-off date (TBD later), the team will get an extra year of control on Yelich and delay his arbitration.
In addition to Yelich, the Marlins made a couple more roster moves:
Jake Jefferies was in competition with Kyle Skipworth for the backup catcher role. Unless the Marlins make a move for another catcher, it would seem that Skipworth has won that role, at least until Jeff Mathis.
Jonathan Albaladejo was in the competition for the Marlins bullpen. He pitched 5 2/3 innings this spring, allowing just one. His 1.59 ERA was not enough to convince the Marlins he deserved an Opening Day role.
Lastly, after a rough spring, Tom Koheler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Koehler had been in the comeptition for the fifth starter role, but allowed 16 hits and 1o runs in just 11 1/3 innings of work. I ranked Koehler as the Marlins 18th best prospect. He will more than likely be nothing more than organizational depth.