Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Miami Marlins
The Position Player: Christian Yelich
I am going to add fuel to the recent fire that is Christian Yelich. The centerfielder has been Philadelphia’s obsession this week. I am a big fan of the 25-year-old and have truly enjoyed watching him play the Phils every year. I have a feeling more eyes will be on Yelich this week.
This season, the California native is hitting .288/.364/.412 with eight homers and 44 RBI. While the power is down for the Miami outfielder, it is always nice to see an OBP of that level. He has walked nearly once for every two strikeouts (38 walks to 71 Ks) and swiped a perfect eight bags in eight chances.
He tends to see righties much better than he does lefties. He is slashing .258/.317/.387 against lefties and .299/.380/.422 against righties. The differences are very noticeable. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they are only putting righties out there this weekend with Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Pivetta, and (probably) Vince Velasquez toeing the rubber.
He is 4-11 with a double, homer, walk, and a strikeout against Eickhoff. He is yet to face Pivetta but has had success against Velasquez too. In twelve at bats, he has three hits, including a triple and two bombs.
In his career, Yelich has hit .294/.372/.421 with four homers, 25 RBI, and 27 runs in 54 games. Of his 63 hits against the Phils, 17 are of the extra basehit variety.
Whatever Phillies pitchers do, it is vital that they do not fall behind on Yelich. He is exceptional when ahead in the count. Even down 0-1 he has an impressive .287 average. He carries an OPS of over 1.000 on first pitches and counts of 1-0, 2-0, and 3-0.
A bull would be very attracted to Yelich’s heatmap against righties. The entire strikezone is covered in red. He lights up fastballs in the zone. However, breaking balls toward his backfoot have been an Achilles heel. Yelich will go out and get offspeed and breaking balls on the outer half.
There is no doubt that all eyes will be on Yelich this week as trade rumors heat up and the Phillies continue to look at ways to improve.