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Saturday, February 1, 2014
2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: CHRISTIAN YELICH OUTFIELDER MIAMI MARLINS
If there is one late round sleeper you need to make sure you have a roster spot for, than Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich is the guy to use it on. At only 22-years-old, Yelich is just the latest in a long line of very impressive Marlins prospects who the team has shown no reservation promoting even at a very young age. Jose Fernandez anyone? Yelich has tremendous natural talent that he gave us a nice glimpse of in his 2013 rookie debut by hitting .288 with 4 home runs and 10 stolen bases in only 240 at-bats. Reminding some of the next Alex Rios, Yelich has immense ceiling that will start yielding some very attractive fantasy baseball numbers as soon as 2014. With that said let's dig in on the still pretty much unknown Yelich and figure out what he could provide to his owners this season.
Like with any young player, Yelich is certain to go through some struggles as he continues to find his way against major league pitching. However the natural tools are all there in the form of a power/speed game that could approach a 20/20 campaign as soon as this year. Incredibly productive at both the Class-A and Double-A levels before his promotion in 2013, Yelich really opened some eyes with a terrific walk rate (31 in those 240 at-bats) which already speaks to his strike zone judgment and his plate approach. That screams out .300 hitter. Also if you were to extrapolate what Yelich did last season over 550 at-bats, he would have hit 11 home runs and 23 steals. Very intriguing numbers for sure and more growth could be expected in 2014 as he continues to mature and grow into his body. While Yelich struggles against lefties in his cup of coffee run, again going back to his good walk rate shows you that he should be able to work through that problem so that a solid average could be attainable.
When you put it all together, Christian Yelich has all the tools and makeup to be a very valuable fantasy baseball commodity as soon as 2014. While Marlins have been a joke in operating their major league team what with all their firesales over the years, they sure know how to groom and prepare prospects given what we have seen over the years. I am very high on Yelich and think he could pay off as a late round lottery ticket jackpot.
2014 PROJECTION: .284 12 HR 55 RBI 72 R 22 SB