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Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: CHRISTIAN YELICH OUTFIELDER MIAMI MARLINS

Wow the title of this post was painful to type.  As rough as it was to accept, Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich in his current state looks like a potential fantasy baseball land mine if he stays in the Sunshine State.  This is a fluid situation of course in that Yelich has publicly asked for a trade and any move out of town would automatically restore his OF 2 fantasy baseball value and maybe even boost it to being worthy of low-end OF 1 consideration if the new destination is in an offensive park.  Be that as it may, Yelich is now a man on an island in terms of the Miami batting order for 2018 after the team dealt away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon.  Anyone who owned Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in 2015 and 2016 knows all too well how a barren surrounding lineup can really hurt the fantasy baseball prospects of the player involved and so this is not a small thing concerning Yelich's outlook.

Now in terms of Yelich the player, there is still a ton to like here.  While it seems like he has been around forever, Yelich turned just 26 this past December and his 2017 numbers were very solid:

.282
18 HR
81 RBI
100 R
16 SB

Lauded for his pure hitting skills and having been tagged as a future batting champion, Yelich did a nice job overall but didn't exactly overwhelm.  What stands out the most are the 100 runs scored but you can forget that happening again this season in Miami given all the trades.  The power numbers were also not overly impressive considering the explosion of the home run ball a year ago and the frustration remains in terms of Yelich being a heavy ground ball guy.  While it did decline for the third season in a row, Yelich's 55.4 ground ball rate was terrible in terms of hitting for power and in turn, his 25.2 fly ball rate needs a bunch of work.  Unless that continues to improve, Yelich can't ever be graded as more than a 20-23 home run guy going forward.  Now in terms of the average, Yelich has hit .300 only once in five MLB campaigns but never lower than last year's .282.  There is a nice batting average floor but so far he is far from being a batting champ.  Throw in the fact Yelich won't be getting as many juicy pitches to hit without good protection all around him and the average doesn't figure to go near .300 this season as well.

When you put it all together, Christian Yelich remains a very good player stuck on a bad team.  If he does get traded, Yelich should move up to high-end OF 2 status and thus become much more valuable.  Until that happens however, Yelich seems like a major disappointment ready to happen.

2018 PROJECTION:  .286 19 HR 78 RBI 90 R 14 SB  


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