Coming into the 2016 campaign, Christian Yelich totaled 20 homers in 1,458 career plate appearances with the Marlins. He matched that, then added another for good luck, sending 21 long balls out of the yard last season. A power spike has long been expected for Yelich as he hits the ball hard, it's just that most of his batted balls are line drives and grounders. He lofted a few more balls, touching 20 percent flyballs for the first time in his career (most power hitters nestle around 40 percent). The added pop emanated from a surge to a 24 percent HR/FB mark, the 14th highest mark among qualified hitters. The safe play is to expect some give-back, dropping Yelich's homers into the low to mid-teens. Also of concern are dwindling steals as Yelich snagged just nine in 13 attempts. He's still a very solid hitter with a projectable floor. Just don't chase last season's tenuous power breakout.
Yelich went 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros. It's still early, but Yelich is doing his best so far in spring training to show that his power spike last season was no fluke. The 25-year-old outfielder is coming into his prime as a hitter and, despite an ADP just outside the top 50 in NFBC drafts, could still have significant upside.
Yelich got the start in center field and hit third during Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals, going 1-for-1 with a walk and a two-run home run. The blast came off St. Louis closer Seung Hwan Oh, giving Yelich a running start to his spring campaign. The 25-year-old will be joining Team USA for the WBC next week, as he looks set to build off his breakout 2016 season in which he slugged 21 homers, more than he'd hit in the previous three years combined.
Yelich will play for Team USA at the WBC, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. He may not see much playing time behind a starting outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones and Marlins' teammate Giancarlo Stanton, but Yelich will still get to represent his country at the WBC for the first time. The 25-year-old is coming off a breakout campaign in which he set career highs with 21 home runs, 98 RBI and an .859 OPS, and the Marlins will be looking for him to consolidate those gains and become the foundation of their young roster.
Yelich went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Nationals. Yelich joined Miguel Rojas as the only Marlins to get on base three times in a game where Tanner Roark and four relievers combined to shut down their offense. The young star has hits in three straight and career highs in homers (21) and RBI (97) in what has been a breakout campaign.
Yelich went 2-for-3 with a double, sacrifice fly and solo homer in Friday's 7-4 win over the Nationals. Yelich's 434-foot shot to right center in the seventh gave the Marlins some important breathing room by extending the lead to 6-4. The homer was his first since Sep. 21, when he also went deep against this same Nationals squad.