Marlins move top prospect Yelich into leadoff spot

Marlins move top prospect Yelich into leadoff spot

MIAMI -- Christian Yelich went from No. 1 prospect to No. 1 in the Marlins' batting order in a week. Miami manager Mike Redmond batted the rookie in the leadoff spot on Tuesday night and bumped shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria down to the No. 2 spot.

After batting second behind Hechavarria in his first six MLB games, Yelich returns to lineup spot he occupied regularly with Double-A Jacksonville.

"He's been leading off all year in the Minor Leagues," Redmond said. "So get him up there and maybe that gets [Hechavarria] a few more better pitches to hit."

Said Yelich: "I feel comfortable really hitting anywhere in the lineup. I spent a lot of time in the leadoff spot down there in Jacksonville, so it's something that's not really new to me."

Yelich was a stellar hitter atop the Suns' lineup, batting .280 (54-for-193) with a .365 on-base percentage and 33 runs scored in 49 games.

Although his numbers have dipped to a .241 (7-for-29) batting average and a .291 on-base percentage with Miami entering Tuesday, Yelich has impressed in limited MLB action and says a change in his lineup spot will not change his plate approach.

"I'm just trying to get on base and get something started," Yelich said. "Leadoff, two-hole, you can't really treat it any different. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be awesome. I'm looking forward to it."

With Yelich moving up, Hechavarria moves down to the No. 2 spot in the order after spending 10 straight games in the leadoff spot. He batted .186 (8-for-43) with three walks, four stolen bases and a run scored atop the order.

Redmond decided to move Hechavarria up to the leadoff spot after the shortstop batted .444 (24-for-54) in the first 14 games of July. But Hechavarria has cooled off since and has gone 14 straight at-bats without a hit entering Tuesday.

"He's done a nice job up there, but he's had a few games where he looks like he's grinding a little bit," Redmond said. "So maybe drop him down a spot and take a little pressure off of him."

Redmond has said several times this season that he believes Hechavarria is best suited to hitting second. Hechavarria was batting .148 (4-for-27) in seven games at the No. 2 spot in the lineup entering Tuesday.

"I really see [Hechavarria] in the two-hole," Redmond said. "That's kind of where I see him, a guy that can hit a fastball. This is where I kind of envision him down the road."

Although Redmond said he sees Yelich as "a leadoff guy" and likes Hechavarria batting second, he does not rule out changing up the batting order again. Redmond began the season using 43 different lineups in the Marlins' first 44 games.

"I've mixed and matched and done a lot of different things," Redmond said. "I try to get guys in a spot where they don't have pressure. Sometimes, just maybe one spot in the order makes a difference."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter