The Incredible Christian Yelich


A hype-filled 2014 offseason for the Miami Marlins has shifted the focus to newcomers Dee Gordon, Michael Morse, Mat Latos and Martin Prado, as well as the mega huge (sort of) contract signed by Giancarlo Stanton. Lost in the fireworks however, could be the most important man to the teams improvement in 2014: Christian Yelich.

 Called up to the majors in July of 2013, Yelich quickly established himself as an above average player, taking home a gold glove in 2014. During his first full season, Yelich quietly put up 4.3 WAR. To put that in perspective, Justin Upton– a “star” for the Atlanta Braves- was a 3.9 win player this past season.

 “Bust” was a word never associated with Yelich when he was coming up through the minors, a sweet, smooth swing, coupled with advanced plate discipline, led many to conclude that Yelich would surely blossom into an above average player. They weren’t wrong, but the question remains whether Yelich still has room to grow. 

Sep 5, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (21) connects for a double during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Those questions mainly stem from his lack of power; he hit 9 home runs last year with a .402 slugging percentage.  At 23 years old, popular opinion insists the lanky table-setter would grow into his power. His swing provides pop by itself, but he isn’t physically imposing, like say uh…Giancarlo Stanton. I’m a firm believer that given his patience and approach,  as he continues to mature as a player the power will come. Not Stanton, or even Ozuna power numbers, but I see him becoming a 18-20 homer guy.

 It’s hard not to fall in love with the swing, the patience, and his humble demeanor. Marlins fans have become spoiled when it comes to young players developing quickly. Guys like Jose Fernandez, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, and now Yelich will do that to a fanbase. The difference with Yelich, is that he gets overshadowed by his studly counterparts in Fernandez and Stanton. Even Ozuna is a more “exciting” player than Yelich.

Don’t let that fool you though, Yelich doesn’t mind one bit. He just goes out there every day, takes his walks, hits his opposite field singles, and makes quietly athletic plays in left field.

 What should we expect next season? more of the same, with the possibility of some increased power numbers, and hopefully further development of his already advanced contact and vision tools. Yelich is steadily productive, and provides a consistency rarely found in such a young player…It’s time we start appreciating him.