Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post posted an article taking a look at two minor league outfielders who will play pivotal roles on the Miami Marlins one day: Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick. In the article, Stoda wonders whether those roles will occur sooner rather than later.
It’s impossible for Yelich and Marisnick to keep from dreaming the dreamiest possibilities for themselves, especially with the parent club mired in misery and in need of help. But seated in the dugout after Sunday batting practice before that night’s game, they both did their best to argue about how they aren’t distracted by thoughts of Miami.
The temptation for Miami to call on Yelich, especially, is obvious. The Marlins’ anemic offense could use any attempt at a boost, but Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations, preached patience on the matter.
"It’s nice to think about Christian and Jake being part of an outfield rotation with Ozuna playing with Stanton for us someday," Beinfest said. "But there’s no rush. We think we’re set up pretty well for the future there."
The Marlins obviously could call up either or both of these players, but would they be so desperate for talent to do so? Last week, we talked about the potentially crowded Marlins outfield and that is only getting more complicated with the team's interest in starting Chris Coghlan thanks to his May resurgence. Would the Marlins muddy the situation any further by bringing in two more players who will play the outfield?
The current situation is worsened by the fact that the two Marlins down in the farm are not necessarily tearing down the park. Christian Yelich is still having a fantastic season, but a recent slump has brought his batting line down to .260/.338/.540 (.388 wOBA). So far he is striking out in a career-high 25.5 percent of plate appearances.
When we discussed the potential Yelich promotion, we compared his situation to that of Giancarlo Stanton's. Stanton had the luxury of an additional half-season in Double-A before his 2010 breakout and promotion. Yelich does not even have that; he only has 157 measly plate appearances at the level in which the most difficult jump occurs. He is facing new difficulties battling more seasoned pitchers, and the Marlins may be wise to hold off trumpeting his arrival and allow him to work in the minors for most of the season. This is especially true if, unlike Stanton, Yelich struggles a little more and is "just" succeeding rather than demolishing Double-A.
The situation with Marisnick makes even less sense. Marisnick is batting just .235/.287/.378 (.306 wOBA) in 108 plate appearances since returning from a preseason hand injury. He has had previous Double-A time, but in total he has hit .232/.286/.346 (.284 wOBA) at the level. Overall, he has spent just 363 plate appearances at the level, which means he has not even logged a season there. Marisnick was always considered a more "raw" prospect with the typical profile of a high ceiling, amazing athleticism, and unknown development of his baseball skills. He is a talented outfielder and has the bat tools to succeed, but so far he has been terrible in Double-A, and that can only signal the need for more seasoning time.
The Marlins already have Marcell Ozuna in the majors, and he may have to supplant a regular starter once Giancarlo Stanton returns from injury. If Yelich is brought up, the Marlins will have to work something out regarding Justin Ruggiano, as he would likely be the odd man out despite currently being the team's best position player. Marisnick would only make the outfield logjam even worse. With the Fish unwilling to try Chris Coghlan in the infield, there is simply no reason for the Marlins to be too aggressive with their young outfield prospects. Allow Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick enough time to stew in Double-A and work out their problems before considering promoting them.