There’s a benefit to playing for the Marlins besides learning the value of having to buy your own equipment and refreshments. “Guys, money’s tight, you’re gonna have to bring your own Gatorade from now on.” That’s a Marlins exec on the first day of the spring. The other benefit is the Marlins don’t care what the hell you do as long as you’re playing for the salary minimum. You know that guy who always brought Popov back to the dorm room? Did he return from the liquor store saying it would go best with orange juice? Nope. Popov was proven to cause cancer in vermin, but it got you drunk and was cheap. That’s the Marlins team. And sometimes the Marlins, like Popov, cause projectile vomiting and lead you to wonder how you ended up with so much orange and teal in your closet. The Marlins don’t care if Christian Yelich hits. He will play every day because he’s cheap. Since we don’t need to collect every 20% off Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon we’ve ever received in the mail when we put together our fantasy team, the cheap thing doesn’t matter to us. It does matter when you’re wondering if Yelich will get 550 ABs and hit in a relatively good spot in the lineup. Who else are they moving up in the order? Ed Lucas? You throw Lucas the ball because he can’t hit it. Casey McGehee? I just vomited onto my bathroom mirror and it spelled out, “Gross.” Adeiny Hechavarria? More like Adon’tthinkso Hereallysucks. So, what can we expect from Christian Yelich for 2014 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
In 2011, Yelich stole 32 bases and hit 15 homers in Single-A. He did all of this while being 14 years old (or at least looking like it). As he progressed up the professional baseball food chain, neither his homers nor speed stopped (though he was thrown out of an R-rated movie). When he was promoted to the majors this summer, he hit 4 homers and stole 10 bases in only 62 games. To think, just last year he still had a newspaper route and was going to the Junior Prom (with a Senior!). Assuming he can handle the workload this spring of finishing up high school and playing baseball, there’s no reason to think he won’t be at the top of the Marlins lineup or batting 2nd and be able to steal at least 20 bases while chipping in at least 10 homers. The only real drawback is the same thing that was a benefit about 300 words ago — Popov. Who’s driving in Yelich once he gets on base? Giancarlo and…Garrett Jones? Aw, geez. So, you can count on one hand his runs scored and RBIs, but he should still be a cheap 10/20 guy. In 2014, I’ll give Yelich the line of 76/11/51/.278/22 and I’ll also give him my fake ID; he just needs to grow a mustache.