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Thursday, May 3, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CHRISTIAN YELICH OUTFIELDER MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Sometimes all it takes is a favorable trade to send a fantasy baseball player's stock to the heavens, with visions of an offensive boost serving to raise the given ADP and expectations to a sizable margin.  Such a case enveloped quiet five-tool outfielder Christian Yelich who went from being a moderately priced OF 2 to one whose draft slot went into OF 1 territory after he was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Milwaukee Brewers over the winter.  On paper this made perfect sense as Yelich was moving from one of the worst hitting parks in the majors in Miami to one of the best in Milwaukee which was particularly favorable to lefty swingers like their new outfielder.  Already coming off a 2017 with the Marlins where he hit 18 home runs, stole 16 bases, scored 100 runs, and drove in 81 with a .282 average, there was talk of a possible 25/25 campaign with an average north of .300.  As often happens though, the expectations on Yelich have so far failed to be met as an early oblique strain that cost him almost two weeks of action helped knock down the numbers to the following as we go into Thursday's contests:

.282
3 HR
15 R
10 RBI
1 SB

While the numbers above are not terrible, they are not exactly jumping off the page either and fellow outfield arrival Lorenzo Cain has been the much better player for the Brewers this season.  In digging into the advanced numbers, some things do stand out.  The first is that Yelich remains a heavy ground ball hitter which has always served to hurt his home run totals almost every season.  As of this writing, Yelich is currently carrying around a high 50.8 ground ball rate (albeit down from 55.4 the year prior) and his fly ball rate of 24.6 is not cutting it again.  Thus we have only three homers from Yelich and a pace that will have him once again in the 18-22 range which has been his norm.  In addition, Yelich has not done much running with just the one steal and that removes some of the power/speed shine from here as well.

Now on the bright side, it could be that Yelich was simply trying to find his swing again after missing time with the oblique and the home run Wednesday was a nice sign.  In addition, Yelich is controlling the strike zone as shown by his solid 20.2 K/9 and 10.1 BB/9 rates.  So in essence, the numbers could very well begin flowing now that Yelich is getting more in sync with his swing.

When you put it all together, Christian Yelich represents a nice buy low who could be stolen if his fantasy baseball owners are getting impatient.  We still are fans of the overall package of numbers here and think that everything will be just fine before you know it.


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