MLB: Marlins Sign First-Rounder Christian Yelich, Now What?
The signing of Christian Yelich came last night for the Marlins although it didn't receive the hype of a Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg signing.
Yelich signed for $1.7 million as the deal got done with minutes left until the midnight deadline. Yelich was the Marlins' first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Taken out of Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California, Yelich stands at 6'4" and weighs 190 pounds.
With Westlake, he hit .428 with nine home runs and 28 stolen stolen bases.
Anything sound familiar?
Well, he follows a recent trend of the Marlins picking high school bats from California in early rounds. First-rounder Matt Dominguez (2007), second-rounder Mike Stanton (2007), and first-rounder Kyle Skipworth (2008).
Nevertheless, Yelich, 18, projects to be an outfielder, more specifically a center fielder with speed to hit at the top of the order.
On a major league level, Yelich has a swing which has been compared to Mark Grace and some have compared him to James Loney.
But for better description, Yelich could be described as a cross between Logan Morrison (power and plate discipline) and Chris Coghlan (speed and defense).
The long-term plan would be for Christian Yelich to be up in a few years, similar to Mike Stanton.
This would be a best case scenario.
Yelich figures to be in the Marlins minor league system in 2011 and 2012 and could figure to be up sometime in 2013.
Yet this all depends on the outfielder alignment for the Marlins in the next few years.
Currently, rookies Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton occupy the corner outfield positions and figure to man them for many years to come with the veteran Cody Ross nestled in center.
Another outfielder, 23-year-old Cameron Maybin, who was sent down because of his early season struggles has bounced back nicely in Triple-A New Orleans, hitting .336 with two home runs, 17 RBI to go along with five stolen bases in 28 games.
He figures to be their center fielder if the Marlins do not tender Cody Ross this offseason.
But anything can happen in a few years and the Marlins could always take a page from 2003 when they traded Adrian Gonzalez if they were ever in contention and trade Yelich, but for now, Christian Yelich figures to be something special in the minor leagues for the Marlins.
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