When asked about the Miami Marlins, the first name that may come to mind of Giancarlo Stanton or possibly Jose Fernandez. Both have experienced recent success that have put them on the nation stage and made them heroes on the Major League landscape.
While Fernandez will continue to be honored for being one of the best pitchers of this decade before his passing and Stanton can hit a home run farther than most power hitters, this team could defined by one another outfielder in the Miami lineup.
An article on fishstripes.com offers a theory that Christian Yelich, the team’s centerfielder, could unseat his teammate as the face of the franchise.
It’s not too farfetched to think Yelich could be that dynamic. After a season that saw him hit career highs in home run and leading the team in RBIs, this could be the season Yelich is talked about in the same conversations with Stanton and other MLB stars.
172 hits, 21 home runs, 98 RBIs, a .298 average, and 19th in National League MVP voting; Chrstian Yelich’s stats from last year show that he has become a bona-fide star, and he is only just hitting his stride at 25 years of age.
In a sport that is heavily consumed by numbers, Yelich might be ready to join the mix as someone fans talk about on the daily.
Yelich was offered a scholarship to play at the collegiate level with the Miami Hurricanes baseball team. However, he was drafted by the Marlins 23rd overall in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft and agreed to a $1.7 million signing bonus on August 17, shortly before the deadline to sign 2010 draftees was about to pass.
He played for the Gulf Coast League Marlins for six games, getting nine hits and seven strikeouts with a batting average of .375 before being advanced to Class-A. He played in six games for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2010, batting .348. In 2011, he batted .261 with 43 hits, six strikeouts and four home runs. Yelich was named the Marlins' Minor League Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.
On July 23, 2013, the Marlins promoted Yelich to the major leagues from the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. He had a fantastic 2014 season, batting .284 with 21 steals out of the leadoff spot for the Miami Marlins.
He also won a Gold Glove Award in left field, becoming the franchise's youngest ever player and first outfielder to win the award.
If the Marlins remain relatively healthy – where Stanton’s season has been interrupted the past two seasons – there is a chance both he and Yelich could be serious MVP candidates. If Yelich were to gain such notoriety, it is possible he will at least share the honor of being the team’s most recognizable figure.