In case you haven't heard, the Miami Marlins have traded away most of their experienced big league talent. This could lead to the promotion of their top prospect, Christian Yelich, ahead of schedule.
Right now, according to MLB.com, the Marlins' center field depth chart includes Justin Ruggiano at the top. He had a solid 91 games in Miami last season, but he has only 527 career plate appearances and is already in his 30s. He is not a long-term solution.
Gorkys Hernandez has the speed and defense to play center, but often looked overmatched at the plate. He's still a prospect at the age of 25, but he needs to develop now.
Bryan Petersen will be 27 in 2013. His .195 average and .530 OPS suggest he is not an everyday major league bat.
The Marlins' long-term solution at center field does not appear to be Cuban defector Dariel Alvarez. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins don't seem interested in the 24-year-old center fielder and might not even attend his January 5th showcase.
This seems to be paving the way for Yelich. The 21-year-old California native has yet to play a game above Single-A, but looks to become an All-Star at the big league level. He has power, speed and a solid average. The only drawback is a freak injury he suffered when he was hit by a teammate's bat.
According to Steph Rogers of the Miami Herald, he was the young Marlins representative at winter ball in 2012. Perhaps the two-time Organization Player of the Year can become Miami's answer to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
There aren't many obstacles blocking his path to the majors, and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com feels that Yelich's big league debut will indeed be in 2013.
If the production in center field does not improve, his promotion could be sooner rather than later.