PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The big stage is all that was needed for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich to gain widespread attention.Yelich has been a standout performer, playing left field and batting third for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, which concludes at 9 p.m. ET in a final
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The big stage is all that was needed for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich to gain widespread attention.
Yelich has been a standout performer, playing left field and batting third for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, which concludes at 9 p.m. ET in a final between the U.S. and Puerto Rico (MLB.TV or MLB Network).
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Marlins manager Don Mattingly is not surprised by Yelich's success playing alongside a cast of stars. The 25-year-old is 7-for-24 (.292) with six runs, three doubles and two RBIs in seven games.
"He doesn't get the attention because the Marlins really haven't been in contention," Mattingly said, "so you're not going to pay attention to the guys down the stretch. I think last year, it was a little bit closer to a playoff run. I think the WBC is good for him, just to see him. He's kind of an everyday guy. If you see him every day, you appreciate what Yelly can do."
Since his 2013 rookie season, Yelich has been a Gold Glove Award winner (2014), finished with a .300 batting average ('15) and won a National League Silver Slugger Award ('16).
Mattingly points to increased power production for also raising Yelich's profile. In his first few seasons, he batted leadoff and was more of a tablesetter. Now entrenched as Miami's No. 3 hitter, Yelich put together a breakout power year in 2016, setting career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (98).
The production picked up after the All-Star break when Yelich belted 14 homers and drove in 53.
"That usually wakes people up," Mattingly said. "They're like, 'This guy can be dangerous.'
"When you're just getting singles and getting your hits, you know a guy is a really good hitter. When you start putting the ball in the seats and doing damage, I think that's when you start to notice him a little bit more. He's a really good hitter. I'm glad he's getting some attention for it. He's not really one who looks for it."
The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.