Left fielder Christian Yelich made a huge impression on the Miami Marlins' scouts and front office throughout the course of the preseason. Because of the early impression, the Marlins didn't hesitate before promoting their top prospect in mid-July.
Heading into Thursday afternoon's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Yelich had hit in seven consecutive games. During that period of time, he batted .379 (11-for-29).
Rookie center fielder Jake Marisnick, unlike Yelich, has yet to thrive offensively at the major league level. As a result, manager Mike Redmond gave Marisnick his first day off on Thursday. Justin Ruggiano made the start in center.
Over the last four games, the 22-year old is a mere 1-for-13. Though he has played an above average center field, Marisnick's struggles at the plate stretch beyond the past four games. He is batting just .192 while getting on base at a .236 clip.
"Just stay level-headed and not get too down on yourself and not panic," Marisnick said in an interview with MLB.com when asked how he remains confident during a slump. "That can go a long way in getting yourself out of a funk. Staying on an even keel and getting your work in and taking care of everything every day. That's a big part of it."
In his first 15 major league games, Marisnick has driven in three runs but has only stolen one base and walked just three times. Acquired from Toronto in November, the Marlins have considered Marisnick the center fielder of the future, hoping that he will be able to consistently get on base at the top of the lineup.
Yelich, batting .290 with a .333 OBP, has adjusted to major league pitching while finding himself atop the Miami's lineup on a daily basis. Marisnick, though, has noticed the difference in the way major league pitchers approach different hitters.
"Pitchers definitely don't give in as much here," the center fielder said. "Every pitch, they're trying to do something with it. In the lower levels, guys on 2-0 will just try to get a fastball over. Here they're trying to hit a spot or mix you up."
Despite the recent struggles, Redmond and the Marlins organization are confident that Marisnick can turn things around and become an established major league center fielder.
"I'm just a little long to the ball right now," Marisnick said. "I still have to fine-tune on some pitches, and make sure I'm getting the ball over the plate and not chasing pitches."
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