After watching long-time outfield mates Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton shipped off, Christian Yelich's days with the Marlins were obviously numbered. He made his unhappiness with the team known, and finally found his new home Thursday, as the Marlins agreed to send him to the Brewers in a deal that returned four minor-league players to Miami.
The return for Yelich dwarfs what the Marlins received for either Ozuna or Stanton, while Yelich helps the Brewers get further along the path to contention – and the team added Lorenzo Cain shortly after. It's a deal that helps both teams, and could also be a win for all involved parties from a Fantasy perspective. Let's break it down for both teams.
Home sweet home for Yelich – finally
You probably already know that Christian Yelich is pretty good. He owns a career .290/.369/.432 line, and has 39 homers and 25 steals over the last two seasons. He's a solid contributor across the board, and a solid top-20 type of outfielder for Fantasy.
He's probably even better than you think.
Over the course of his five major-league seasons, Yelich ranks 86th out of 155 players (min. 1000 PA) in wOBA at home, with a .334 mark. That's not bad production, especially for a player who can swipe a few bases, but it's nothing special.
He has been special on the road, however, ranking 18th in the majors with a .363 wOBA. To put that in perspective, Yelich has hit like 2017 Corey Seager on the road, and 2017 Adam Jones at Marlins Park. And now he only has to play three games at Marlins Park next season.
The news gets better, because he's not just hitting anywhere – he's hitting at Miller Park. Yelich is moving from one of the toughest parks for left-handed batters to one of the best, so expectations should be a lot higher for Yelich in light of this trade. He's never going to be a 30-homer guy, of course. But, then you look at his spray chart from last season overlaid over Miller Park's dimensions, and…
Well, it's fun to dream. Yelich could develop into a legitimate 25-homer threat, in addition to being a pretty good bet for something close to a .300 average, 15 steals, and a ton of runs hitting at the top of what should be a very good Brewers lineup. And, with how hard he hits the ball consistently, there's the potential for a Daniel Murphy-esque explosion if he starts elevating the ball more.
Yelich is already in the top-15 in Scott White's outfield rankings, and while it might be tough for him to jump Marcell Ozuna and Andrew Benintendi, to move up in Scott's rankings, he has some room to improve for Heath Cummings. Heath had Yelich 20th in H2H and 26th in Roto before the trade, and it's not hard to see him moving up in light of this trade. It's a clear upgrade for Yelich's Fantasy outlook.
This Brewers lineup got even better Thursday, as they added Lorenzo Cain on a five-year, $80 million deal after announcing the Yelich deal. Cain enjoyed a bounceback season in 2017, hitting .300/.363/.440, and gives the Brewers yet another athletic table setter at the top of the lineup. He may not benefit quite as much as Yelich might by the park improvement, but it's a nice landing spot anyway. Cain should be among the first 20 or so outfielders off the board on Draft Day.
A glut in Milwaukee
Of course, it is worth noting that the Brewers probably had more players than spots in their outfield before adding a pair of All-Stars an hour apart, so they aren't done yet. Ryan Braun probably isn't going anywhere, though he also can't be counted on to play even 140 games at this point in his career, which limits his Fantasy appeal. Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana have shown the ability to be useful Fantasy options, but they won't be that in Milwaukee in 2018. We'll see where they end up, because Santana especially will be a valuable Fantasy player with a full-time role. Stay tuned.
Some Marlins are actually worth getting excited about
The Marlins are going to be one of the worst teams in baseball in 2018 – maybe the worst – and that's by design. What's worse is, they won't even be very interesting for Fantasy purposes. Having traded Dee Gordon, Ozuna, Stanton, and now Yelich, the Marlins may only have one player left you'll even consider drafting in the top-100 – and J.T. Realmuto may be following Yelich out the door shortly.
You won't be drafting anyone they received in this trade in the top-100 in 2018, but that might change as soon as next season. The Marlins acquired outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz, and pitcher Jordan Yamamoto, an exciting bundle of talent. Let's go through each and see what their Fantasy outlook might be for 2018 – and beyond.
- Brinson is the headliner, a perpetual top-100 prospect who enters 2018 as Scott's
- The rest of the crew is much further away, but Harrison is the most interesting right now, having clocked in at No. 64 on Scott's prospect list. He lived up to the tools in 2017, hitting .272 with an .832 OPS, 21 homers, and 27 steals between A and High-A, and could see the majors by the end of 2018 if he holds his own in Double-A. He's someone to own in keeper and Dynasty formats.
- Diaz made his way onto the
- Yamamoto doesn't have the prospect pedigree of the other names in this move, but he is coming off a terrific season, posting a 2.51 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 111 innings at High-A. Carolina is a nice place to pitch, so those numbers could be inflated, however this is someone who could figure into the Marlins 2019 rotation plans if he shows he has the stuff to handle Double-A. The path to a spot in the Marlins' rotation is clear, so he'll be worth monitoring in deeper Dynasty/keeper leagues as well.