Christian Stephen Yelich (born December 5, 1991) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball (MLB). Yelich was drafted out of high school by the Marlins in the 1st round (23rd overall) of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft . He stands 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 195 pounds.

Career

Yelich was born on December 5, 1991 in Thousand Oaks , California and attended Westlake High School . [2] During his freshman year he batted .373 with 25 hits and 16 strikeouts out of 67 at bats . [3] In his sophomore year he batted .341 with 31 hits and 24 strikeouts out of 91 at bats. [4] During Yelich's junior year he batted .489 and hit 46 times and struck out six times. [5] In his senior year he batted .451 with 37 hits, nine strikeouts and nine home runs out of 82 at bats. [6] He was awarded Second Team All-American by Max Preps and was ranked 34 among the top 100 players in the nation in high school. [7]

Yelich was offered a scholarship to play at the collegiate level with the Miami Hurricanes baseball team. [8] 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. [9] [10] Yelich 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. [11] [12]

On July 23, 2013, the Marlins promoted Yelich to the major leagues from the Double-A Jacksonville Suns . [13] [14] He had a fantastic 2014 season, batting .284 with 21 steals out of the leadoff spot for the Miami Marlins. [15] He also won a Gold Glove Award in left field, becoming the franchise's youngest ever player and first outfielder to win the award. [16] [17] [18] During the season, Yelich set a franchise record for fielding percentage in left field, at .996. [19] Yelich and the Marlins finalized a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension on March 22, 2015. [20] He struggled to start the season, and was placed on the disabled list in April with lower back strain before making his return on May 8. [3] [3] His batting average reached a season low of .178 on May 22. [23] In August, Yelich bruised his right knee and was again placed on the disabled list. [3] Yelich had improved from his earlier offensive struggles and was hitting .275/.343/.376 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and fourteen stolen bases up to that point in the season. [3] [3] Despite aggravating the injury shortly after his return, Yelich remained an active player for the quality of his bat. [3] [3] Near the end of the season, Yelich shared the field with Marcell Ozuna , the outfielder who had replaced him during his second stint on the disabled list. [3] Yelich closed the 2015 season with a .300 average. [23]

Yelich was projected to bat third to start 2016. [3] He hit well in that spot, and managed to increase his power output. [4] [4] On April 23, in a game against the San Francisco Giants , Yelich hit three doubles, which tied a franchise record. [4] Defensively, Yelich was a starting outfielder, alongside Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton . [4] In late May, Yelich missed some time due to back spasms. [4] [4] After Stanton was placed on the disabled list, Ozuna played Stanton's usual position in right field, while Yelich took Ozuna's spot in center on days that backup outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was unavailable. [4]

He played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Following the conclusion of the tournament, he was named to the 2017 All-World Baseball Classic team . [4]

Personal life

His father is of Croatian descent. Yelich's maternal great-grandfather was American football player Fred Gehrke . [2] An uncle, Chris Yelich, played football for the UCLA Bruins . [4] Yelich is the eldest of three children; his brothers are Collin and Cameron. [4] Collin was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft . [5] Cameron is a United States Marine . [5] [5] His grandfather is Japanese. [5]