Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich are without a doubt the top two outfield prospects in the Marlins farm system. When the news broke yesterday that the Marlins made the decision to promote both of them to the Majors, I was not in the least bit surprised. After all, Christian Yelich is one of the top twenty prospects in baseball and he's finally healthy. Marisnick has been nothing short of outstanding in Double-A Jacksonville this year and he's the Marlins only hope at a center fielder. In fact, Jake Marisnick was even more deserving of the promotion than Yelich due to his consistency and leadership displayed in Jacksonville.
One can easily make the case that, in his 67 games for Jacksonville in 2013, Jake Marisnick was the the most valuable position player, not just on his team, but in the entire Southern League. Marisnick, who is 22-years-old, hit .294/.358/.502 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 298 plate appearances. Couple this with his outstanding defense and Marisnick is the biggest reason why Jacksonville managed to play above .500 ball even without Christian Yelich for a few weeks. In 2012, Marisnick really struggled with Toronto's Double-A New Hampshire in 55 games, hitting to the tune of only a 70 wRC+. Fortunately, due to his tremendous athleticism and a few changes he has made to his swing, Marisnick has more than doubled that wRC+ and has regained his place as one of the top center field prospects in the minors. No matter how you look at, Jake Marisnick's season has been nothing short of phenomenal to this point.
Christian Yelich has had one roller coaster season in 2013. His season started off very well but plantar fasciitis and later an abdominal strain have kept him out of numerous ballgames. If it weren't for those injuries, one would assume Christian Yelich would have already made it to the Majors. However, being able to avoid small injuries like this is part of what makes a consistent everyday big leaguer. Yelich has not been able to demonstrate that he can stay in a lineup for long stretches of time. Even if you look at his impressive numbers when he was healthy, one could argue that Marisnick has outperformed him. Christian Yelich still may have a brighter future, but in 2013, Jake Marisnick has outperformed Yelich at pretty much all levels.
Overall, it is going to be a blast to watch these two take the field together in Miami with Giancarlo Stanton. It will remain to be seen how both of them can adjust to major league pitching, but Marisnick and Yelich should both be able to help the Marlins score some runs. Also, having these two young, budding superstars in the lineup should theoretically bring more fans out to the ballpark. Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich were both very deserving of their promotions, but if the Marlins could only call up one of them, it would have been the right thing to do to promote Marisnick.