USA TODAY Sports
Miami Marlins top prospect Christian Yelich should be playing in a Marlins uniform by August, partly because Miami will be forced to find a way to keep fans interested in what should be an abysmal season.
Christian Yelich is unquestionably the top hitting prospect in the Miami Marlins system. Despite having never played above High-A, after impressing early on this spring, there was an idea floating around that Yelich could possibly open the season in Miami. However, as Scott Gelm wrote on March 15th, the chances of Yelich making the Opening Day roster are slim to none. Nonetheless, Yelich definitely has the talent to make an impact on the 2013 Marlins. With his athleticism and raw hitting ability paired with the bad baseball that will likely be played in Miami, Christian Yelich should be in a Marlins uniform by August.
Christian Yelich might have the best present hit tool of any outfielder in the Miami organization. He is a tremendous athlete who plays excellent defense in either LF or RF. Yelich could potentially be a 20/20 player down the line, assuming his power reaches its ceiling. As a 6'4'' 21-year-old under 200 pounds, Yelich still needs to put on some muscle to truly develop his power. Nonetheless, with Yelich's tools, there's no reason that he can't help a Major League team win some games in 2013.
Jeffrey Loria has successfully managed to get the entire Marlins fanbase to despise him. The Marlins need something to get their fans excited and feeling good about the team, and they need it fast. Christian Yelich could be just that. He is young, exciting, and highly-touted. By promoting Yelich to the Majors, the Marlins might be able to get a few more fans to the ballpark and their fans would hopefully start to understand the direction of this young team.
The 2013 Marlins are going to be one of the worst teams in the majors. The infield is going to be atrocious, the rotation may be talented but it is far too inexperienced, and the outfield will be reliant on a 35-year-old who cannot hit for power or draw a walk to save his life and a 30-year-old who has never played 100 games in the majors in a single season. It's hard to imagine that Christian Yelich would not be an upgrade over Juan Pierre in left field. Even if playing Yelich everyday is not in the cards, it is not like the Marlins would be in a pennant race anyways.
Now, with all of the aforementioned reasons for Yelich to be in the majors this season, one might ponder why Christian Yelich should not be up in the Majors right away. This would be a terrible idea. The jump from High-A to Double-A is one of the hardest things to do in a prospect's minor league career, and completely skipping that transition would mess up Yelich's development. Christian Yelich still needs to prove he can hit for more power and control his strikeouts when facing more advanced pitchers. By letting Yelich play in Double-A Jacksonville for a while, he will be seeing the best pitchers he has ever seen. The idea that Yelich would not be challenged in the Southern League is insane. He will need to play at least half of a season in the minors before he is ready to be promoted to Miami.
The 2013 season will be a huge year for Christian Yelich. If he proves that he can handle Double-A pitching, he will be deserving of a starting role on the 2013 Marlins. Nonetheless, there is no reason to rush Yelich to the majors. The Marlins should protect his service time and let him develop his game a little bit more. August would be the perfect time for Christian Yelich to make his Major League debut, assuming he is successful in the minors. Christian Yelich is one of the future faces of this team, and it is only a matter of time before he is playing everyday in Miami.