Please note: Jason will be on vacation by the time you are reading this, so there will be no posts from him next week.
Every Friday through the rest of the season I plan on looking at a prospect who is currently in the lower levels of the minors, but should be on the radar of every dynasty league owner for their next minor league draft. Today's prospect is one whose value was a bit cloudy when he was drafted in 2010, as it was unclear what his position might be, and whether he would hit enough for that spot. But the Marlins took Christian Yelich with the 23rd overall pick, and have to be extremely pleased with the results so far. Let's take a look at the outfield prospect, and see what he could do for your dynasty league team.
Yelich was drafted by the Marlins with the #23 overall pick in 2010 out of Westlake High School in California. The knock on him at the time was that he appeared to be most likely destined for first base rather than an outfield spot, and as a result would have to hit that much more to provide value. The Marlins signed him for $1.7 million, and he was able to get into 12 games for the Marlins' GCL and Sally League affiliates that season.
The Fish sent him back to Greensboro for the 2011 season, and he rewarded them with an excellent offensive line: .312/..388/.484 with 15 home runs, 77 RBI, and 32 stolen bases. The bigger surprise for many prospect gurus was that the Marlins ran him out in the outfield all season, appearing in 28 games in center field and 86 games in left field, and reports indicated that his defense out there was at least passable, and could potentially be even better.
He was sent to High-A Jupiter for the 2012 season, and despite missing a couple of weeks due to injury, has been really heating up of late. On the season, he is hitting .317/.392/.529 with 11 home runs, 41 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in just 78 games played. Yelich has also played center field almost exclusively this year, appearing in only four games in left field and 5 as a designated hitter.
I am a big fan of what Yelich has done so far in the minors. It appears more and more that he will be able to stay in the outfield, and potentially in center field. His lefty/righty splits don't appear to show a potential flaw in his game, as performance against both sides has been excellent this season. To me, he looks like he has the potential to be a 15-20 home run bat with a solid batting average and above average speed totals (think 25-30 steals a season) at his peak.
His timeframe seems to be on the lines of a level-per-season, which would move him up to AA for the 2013 season, and up to AAA in 2014. At that rate, I could see a call up by the end of 2014, at which point he would still be just 23 years old.
Baseball America Draft Database
Minor League Central