Looking a lot like Robert Redford in the movie “The Natural”, Christian Yelich rounded the bases for the 5th time this spring after hitting a ball off the property. This time, it had a splash. Wonderboy Yelich seems to be making one himself.
Mike Redmond is on board. He likes the kid, and is giving him tons of PT. But don’t expect that to translate into a spot on the Opening Day roster. Not because Yelich isn’t ready – there are ramblings about him never hitting pitching above single A (until this Spring, of course) – but the answer is simple: the Marlins are not ready for Yelich.
This team is a guts and glory foundation being instilled by new manager, and ex-Marlin hero, Mike Redmond. Yelich would be a great jolt to a team looking to make a push in the latter part of the season and there is little upside to playing the kid while you have enough capable players in place like Justin Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan, Gorkys Hernandez, and even Chone Figgins. Yelich would get into the mix, but really not enough for him to gain much from limited PT and platooning.
More importantly, this is about service time. Players who are under 3 years of service are not arbitration eligible unless they have 2 years and 86 days of service in the bigs AND they are rated in the top 20% at their position. Bringing Yelich in now starts his clock sooner than necessary. Keeping him in the minors until after the All Star Break gives the Marlins a chance to see what they have currently in CF, get established a bit, and if they are chasing a playoff spot, Yelich becomes a nice jolt in the arm – much the same way that Miguel Cabrera did back in 2003.
So Yelich can hit the cover off the ball but no matter what, Wonderboy is not going to make this roster. The Marlins want to see him get his feet wet at AA at least, in Jacksonville, and as the season moves along, you’ll end up seeing him in Miami sometime after the ASB – to help push a very competitive Marlins team along a playoff push late in the season.