We have now reached the summit of the Marlins prospects. The two prospects we are about to look at are not only the best prospects in the Marlins organization, but they are two of the top prospects in all of baseball. While some of the prospects we looked at before have the potential to be all-stars, the top two prospects for the Marlins have the potential to be superstars down the road.
Here is a quick recap of the top 20 prospects we have taken a look at so far:
- #20-Mason Hope, RHP
- #19- Zack Cox, 3B
- #18- Tom Koehler, RHP
- #17- Kolby Copeland, OF
- #16- Austin Barnes, INF-C
- #15- Alfredo Silverio, OF
- #14- Avery Romero, INF
- #13- Derek Dietrich, INF
- #12- Mason Hope, SP
- #11- Adam Conley, SP
- #10- Jake Realmuto, C
- #9- Jose Urena, SP
- #8- Rob Brantly, C
- #7- Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
- #6- Marcell Ozuna, OF
- #5- Jake Marisnick, OF
- #4- Justin Nicolino, SP
- #3- Andrew Heaney, SP
Last season, this prospect was seen as the top prospect in the Marlins organization. He did nothing to hurt his prospect status, rather he solidified himself as one of the better prospects in all of baseball. Unfortunately for him, another prospect stole the limelight and proved to be the Marlins top overall prospect. We will take a look him tomorrow, but let’s look at the number two prospect now:
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
Drafted: 2010 1st round pick
Birthdate: 12/5/1991 (21) Height: 6’4″ Weight: 185 lbs.
The Miami Marlins selected Yelich in the first round of the 2010 Amateur draft out of Westlake High School in Ventura County. While Yelich was primarily a first baseman in high school, the Marlins decided to take advantage of his athleticism and convert him to an outfielder. Yelich proved the Marlins correct quickly, as he became a competent centerfielder and an above average left fielder.
In 2011, Yelich enjoyed a break out season. He posted a .312/.388/.484 slash line for Class-A Greensboro. Yelich also hit 15 home runs and stole 32 bases. This resulted in a 140 wRC+ in his first full season of professional baseball. The Marlins moved Yelich to high-Class A Jupiter for the 2012 season.
Yelich once again made the Marlins scouting team look like geniuses, hitting .330/.404/.519. with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Yelich also missed some time during the 2012 season due to concussion issues and other injuries. This did not stop Yelich from hitting for 162 wRC+, which made him the top hitter in the entire league. This came in the pitcher friendly Florida State league.
After the 2012 season, Yelich attended the Arizona Fall League and once again hit for an average over .300. Yelich did not display much power during his stint in the AFL, though. Power is something scouts wonder will ever fully develop for Yelich as he progresses.
Of course, that lack of power could be attributed to the long season that Yelich had endured. Although scouts doubt that Yelich will ever hit for plus power, the tool should easily be average or a bit better.
Yelich has a smooth stroke from the left side and is seen as an excellent pure hitter. Scouts feel he should have no problems hitting over .300 in the majors. Yelich should provide the Marlins with plenty of extra base hits, which could be extended due to the size of Marlins Park. Yelich’s double-digit walk rate also demonstrates an advanced plate approach. This will help him put up strong on base percentages when he reaches the majors.
This is what prospect guru John Sickels had to say about Yelich:
"2) Christian Yelich, OF, Grade A-: Borderline A. We’ll have to see how much home run power he carries forward, but otherwise he’ll contribute in every department and thrived in High-A at age 20. Hits for average, gets on base, has at least moderate power, swipes bags, plays well in center field."
Although Yelich has proven that he can play competent defense in center, his long term future likely lies in left field, as prospect Jake Marinsick projects as the better defensive player in center. Concerns about his lack of arm strength also position him to be a better left fielder long term.
Yelich should provide above average defense in left field for many seasons for the Marlins. Although he will play defense, his advanced plate approach and strong hitting ability should carry his value.
The Marlins will start Yelich in Double-A Jacksonville to begin the 2013 season, but with a strong showing in the first half of the season, could make his major debut by late June or early July. Yelich should have a chance to win a starting role for the 2014 season. His path to the big league roster is not blocked by any outfielder on the Marlins current roster. If Yelich performs, the job is his.