Following a promising sophomore campaign, Christian Yelich endured struggles to begin the year. He has recently reverted to efficient ways, however, turning 2015 into a success.
Yelich’s performance in 2014 brought optimism for Marlins fans, who viewed the trio of Yelich, Stanton, and Ozuna to stand as the foundation for Miami’s offense. Last year, Yelich slashed .284/.362/.402 with 9 homers, 54 RBI, and 21 SB in 144 games played.
2015 came around with promise, but the 23-year-old outfielder disappointed. Yelich managed to hit just two homers in the first month of the season, batting .200 in April and .231 in May. His strikeout rate landed in the 25-30% range, and his ISO struggled to breach the .100 mark.
Fans recognized the struggles of Yelich, as he and fellow young outfielder Marcell Ozuna underwent growing pains. Marlin Maniac writer Daniel Zylberkan investigated into Christian Yelich’s struggles during the first half of the season, as did Tom Hanlon of Fishstripes.
Whether it be approach at the plate, internal frustration, or lack of preparation, Christian Yelich has fixed his problems, gradually improving month by month. Take his average, for example, which rose from .200 in April to .231 in May, .287 in June, .319 in July, .333 in August, and now .370 in September.
Say Yelich’s season was based off of second half performance alone, we’d be hearing many more positive notions towards the young outfielder. He’s turned a .264 first half batting average into a .326 second half mark. Overall, Yelich has upped his season’s average to .285, which actually surpasses his average of 2014.
So was the first half of 2015 a fluke for Yelich?
Take it as a growing pain rather than a fluke. The words “growing pains” are heard by sports fans everywhere, and can often be thought of as a cop out to a youngster’s struggles. But Yelich’s stats prove otherwise, as 2015 has show evidential growth at the plate.
While claims can be made that Yelich is lucky, his improvement is legitimate. Yelich’s growth has come with a decrease of BABIP, disproving any theory of increased luck. However, his wOBA has consistently stood around .020 points lower than his OBP throughout his career.
Fans and critics can choose to play the ‘lucky’ card, but they cannot deny his improvement throughout the season. Hopefully when next year comes around, Yelich can start off on a better note and repeat his late season success of 2015.
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