Familiar Face Leads Marlins To Yelich

Scout McDonnell Nets Fourth Pick Since '07





FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. One way to determine who the Marlins are high on in the draft is to identify the guys Los Angeles area scout Tim McDonnell is following. McDonnell has netted four picks in the top three rounds since 2007, most recently Westlake High outfielder Christian Yelich.
 
The Marlins selected Yelich, a speedy 6-foot-4, lefthanded hitter with the 23rd overall pick. He joins fellow first-rounder Matt Dominguez, second-rounder Mike Stanton and third-rounder Edgar Olmos among the players McDonnell has plucked out of Southern California.
 
Yelich, who doesn't project to be a big power guy, was the sixth high school position player selected.  
 
"We really love the bat," vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming said. "There are a lot of tools there, still some growth to go. He's got a nice frame. He's going to fill out and be a big man. There are tons of things to like about this kid. He's our kind of guy."
 
Yelich's best defensive position may be first base, but the Marlins initially will play him in the outfield to better utilize his speed. That's fine with Yelich, who played both corner infield spots for Westlake in 2010 but was hoping to get drafted as an outfielder.
 
He didn't expect to hear his name at 23.
 
"Very surprised," said Yelich, who batted .451 (37-for-82) with 14 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 25 RBIs in 28 games for Westlake this season.  "I knew they had interest, but not this kind of interest. It's definitely a welcome surprise."
 
As a sophomore, Yelich made an early verbal commitment to UCLA mostly because of past family ties to the school. He thought better of it and later settled on Miami.
 
Some scouts question whether Yelich's arm won't ultimately land him back at first base. The Marlins hope with some mechanical adjustments he'll ultimately grade out to an average arm.
 
"He has arm strength," Fleming said. "He has a little bit of an odd throwing motion that we'll try and smooth out. It's not anything that will prevent him from being able to play the outfield . . . We didn't really have a lot of high school hitters high. He was one of them and one we were excited to see there when we picked."
 
FISH BITES

• Out since spring training with a back injury, lefthander Sean West made his major league debut for Triple-A New Orleans on June 1. Through two starts, West tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out eight.

• Acquired from the Cubs for Kevin Gregg in December 2008, righthander Jose Ceda made his first appearance for the Marlins in early June with low Class A Greensboro. He gave up three runs on three hits, including a homer, and struck out a batter in his first outing since 2008 at Double-A Tennessee. Ceda missed all of 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery.