The Miami Marlins franchise has been an historic head-scratcher. One moment this team is primed and ready to compete in the NL East pennant race, then in a blink of an eye a decision is made to tear it all down and start from scratch. Considering the construction of Marlins Park was largely funded through taxpaying citizens, ( total cost of the stadium: $515 million ) many viewed ownership’s rebuilding plan as a slap in the face. Although it does have a nightclub built in, so all is not lost.
There is one thing I will give the Marlins credit for, that is their ability to develop young talent. Miami is blessed with two rapidly-rising stars in already No. 1 in their rotation starting pitcher Jose Fernandez and the 6-foot-5 slugger with outrageous power, outfielder Giancarlo “don’t call me Mike” Stanton. With up and coming and highly touted youngster Christian Yelich on the verge of receiving a full-time gig in the show, the fish are forming a solid nucleus.
Note to Jeffery Loria and David Samson, if you’re going to build, then let this version of the Marlins play out, give your fans something to get excited about. You might be on to something here.
Yelich is a sweet-swinging lefty who boasts an all-around game. With a minor league track record that showcases career numbers of a .313 BA, .387 OBP, .866 OPS, while hitting the 20 stolen base mark twice and reaching 32 thefts in 2011.
After finally receiving his call-up to the big leagues last July, making several dynasty fantasy owners happy in the process, Yelich delivered on the his hype, displaying prodigious future potential. In 273 plate appearances, the kid with the swing reminiscent of former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud, produced a .288 BA, four deep-flies and 10 stolen bases. Injecting some much needed life in the Marlins’ nightmare season of 2013.
Only 22 years old, Yelich already might be headed for three-hole in the opening day batting order. So far he has looked every bit capable of handling the spotlight, even at such a young age. His floor for 2014 is a .270 hitter with a chance at 20/20, but it’s his ceiling that has Marlins’ fans anticipating a future All-Star. All eyes will be on Yelich once Spring Training begins. With a guaranteed role in place, look for the kid to hit the ground running. Miami’s baseball community can start to believe in something again.