The Miami Marlins are not a playoff contender again this year, so it makes sense for them to start taking a look at some younger players with an eye toward the future. To that end, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has reported they are likely to promote outfielder Christian Yelich to the big leagues either later this month or in early August.
Yelich was drafted out of high school by the Marlins in the first round (23rd overall) in 2010, and both Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as a top-20 overall prospect entering the season. He has spent most of this season at Double-A Jacksonville, and he is hitting .268 with six home runs, 28 RBI and five stolen bases along with a .508 slugging percentage over 205 plate appearances (45 games) at that level through Thursday night.
It wouldn’t make much sense for the Marlins to promote Yelich if they don’t plan to give him a lot of playing time, but should fantasy baseball owners take notice?
Yelich has played predominantly center and left field during his minor league career, so it may take a trade to open up playing time for him in Miami. Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre look like the most obvious candidates to be moved as the July 31 trade deadline nears, and if one or both winds up elsewhere it would not be surprising to see Yelich called up soon after.
With limited experience above Single-A ball right now, Yelich’s learning curve as a hitter is likely to be steep upon coming to the big leagues. It would surprise me if he is much of a factor in fantasy leagues this year, but owners in deep keeper leagues could consider adding him with an eye toward 2014.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.