With power emerging, Yelich an even bigger threat

Marlins left fielder belts career-high 10th home run for 3rd blast in past 4 games

With power emerging, Yelich an even bigger threat

MIAMI -- Some of the hardest balls Christian Yelich is hitting are coming when he least expects them. The 24-year-old outfielder did it yet again on Friday night in the Marlins' 5-3 loss to the Mets at Marlins Park.

In the sixth inning, and during an at-bat he was simply striving to drive a runner home from third base, Yelich unloaded on a two-run blast to right-center field off right-hander Logan Verrett.

According to Statcast™, the drive was projected to land 417 feet away from home plate with an exit velocity of 109 mph.

The blast was his third in four games, and 10th on the season, which is a career high. He had nine in 2014 and seven in '15.

Yelich's two RBIs gave him 54, which is tops for the Marlins.

"Obviously, you're not trying to hit a homer there," Yelich said. "You're trying to get the guy in from third, and get a good pitch to do it on, and you can hit hard. I was able to put a good swing on it, and it went over the fence."

Manager Don Mattingly noted that Yelich has been "working on some things" with his swing. Specifically, no one is saying what, but the ability to launch the ball over the wall is evident.

On Thursday, Yelich connected on an opposite-field home run in a 9-3 win at Philadelphia. Statcast™ projected that shot at 388 feet with an exit velocity of 102 mph.

Yelich's solo homer

And on Tuesday, also at the Phillies, Yelich blistered a rocket to center that Statcast™ had at 447 feet with an exit velocity of 111 mph.

"Yelly, obviously, the power is coming out a little bit," Mattingly said.

Statcast: Yelich's monster shot

Yelich has long been considered a "pure hitter" who works the gaps, and he's living up to that reputation. With two hits on Friday, his slash line is now .320/.396/.499.

The past couple of years, Yelich has ranked at the top of all players in ground-ball percentage. Last year, for instance, his ground-ball percentage was 62.5 percent, compared to his fly-ball percentage of 15, according to FanGraphs.

This year, his ground-ball percentage has lowered to 58.9 percent, with a fly-ball increase to 16.7 percent.

"I know he's working on some things," Mattingly said. "If that continues, he turns into a really, really, scary guy from the standpoint of if he starts hitting for that kind of power, then the RBIs will start piling up."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.