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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick

Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich
Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich

Mar 9, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (76) hits a one run single against the Washington Nationals during the top of the third inning of a spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The one nice thing about the Marlins’ blowing up their entire roster and scattering it throughout the league is the amount of highly touted prospects you bring back, worth their weight in hype. We have already seen plenty of Derek Dietrich (acquired in the offseason from Tampa Bay for Yunel Escobar), Jacob Turner (acquired last season from Detroit for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante), and Nate Eovaldi (acquired last season from the Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez). Today, the Marlins sent down Dietrich and fellow rookie Marcell Ozuna and called up Baseball America’s 15th top prospect Christian Yelich and 64th top prospect Jake Marisnick.

Yelich is a player to be excited about but it’s hard to tell if he should be up already. He’s only played 49 Double-A games and never played in Triple-A. Through his 302 minor league games, Yelich has hit as many as 15 home runs (in 461 at-bats), driven in as many as 77 RBI, stolen as many as 32 bases, and batted as high as .329. Of course, that was all in Single-A.

This season, Yelich got his first taste of Double-A and the results were mixed. Through 222 plate appearances, he’s put up an impressive .280/.365/.518 line with seven home runs, 29 RBI, 22 R, 26 XBH, five steals, and 52 SO/26 BB. His .863 OPS is right around his career .886 OPS but his steals are way down. He hurt his foot early in the season and has not gotten back on track. He’s not a real power guy, his strength is his ability to hit doubles and triples (48 XBH in 2011, 46 XBH in 2012) and steal. If he doesn’t steal, he’s immediately worth a lot less in fantasy.

If his numbers translate, you’re looking at a guy who can hit .280-.320 with 20 HR, 30 SB, and 30+ 2B in a full season. How long that will take or if it will even happen is a whole other thing.

Jake Marisinick was probably the best player Miami got back in their offseason blockbuster trade with Toronto. In most ways, Marisinick is almost statistically identical to Yelich but with a more inconsistent average.

In 2011, Marisinick put up a very impressive .320/.392/.496 line with 14 HR, 77 RBI, 68 R, 47 XBH and 37 SB over 523 PA. In 2012, Marisinick was promoted to High-A where his line slipped to .263/.349/.451 and his production dropped to six homers, 35 RBI, 41 R, and 31 XBH over 306 PA. He was promoted to Double-A where his line further slid to .233/.286/.336 with just two homers, 15 RBI, 25 R, and 16 XBH over 223 at-bats. The move to the Marlins and a second go-around in Double-A seems to have helped. This season he owns a once-again-impressive line of .294/.358/.502 with 12 HR, 46 RBI, 43 R, 28 XBH, and 11 SB over 298 PA.

As with Yelich, Marisinick could have likely used more time on the farm but considering the Marlins are worse, and younger, than some Triple-A teams it’s really not all that different. Like Yelich, his steals have decreased from 37 in 118 games to 24 in 120 games to 11 in 70 games. The most homers he’s ever hit is 14 so he’s another guy who needs speed to be truly fantasy relevant. I think he’ll struggle with average and strikeouts and even though he has similar minor league numbers to Yelich he just doesn’t have the can’t-miss factor. Again, not to say that Yelich will necessarily be good this season, I just think he’s a better bet this season and looking forward than Marisinick.

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