Top Prospects: Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins

ATLANTA -- Easing into professional baseball has been an adjustment for Colin Moran, the Marlins' top pick in the June First-Year Player Draft.

Selected sixth overall, the left-handed-hitting third baseman from the University of North Carolina signed shortly before the July 12 deadline, and he is currently at low Class A Greensboro.

Most likely, the Rye, N.Y., native will remain with the Grasshoppers for the remainder of the season. He turns 23 on Oct. 1, and in all likelihood, the Marlins will have him play in the Arizona Fall League.

"He can hit," Marlins general manager Michael Hill said. "He's a good hitter. Sound approach."

If Moran progresses as expected, he should start off next year at Advanced Class A Jupiter. From there, if he performs, the next step is the leap to Double-A Jacksonville.

It's not unrealistic to project Moran to reach the big leagues in the second half of next year, if he shows he is ready. If not, then he's looking at 2015.

At Greensboro, Moran is batting .244 with three doubles, one triple, two homers and 11 RBIs in his first 21 games. He had hit safely in eight of nine games before going 0-for-4 on Friday night.

Left-handed pitching has given him more trouble, as he is batting .194 against them in 31 at-bats. Against right-handers, he is hitting .277. But he has hit a home run against both righties and lefties.

Thus far, it's a small professional sample size for Moran, regarded as one of the top college hitters in the Draft.

"He stays within himself," Hill said. "He doesn't expand the zone too much. He's going to be a good hitter. We'll see with him, what we do in the fall, to get him closer."

Frustrated Stanton gets night off in Atlanta

MIA@PIT: Stanton doubles to score Yelich in the first

ATLANTA -- Each disappointing at-bat increased Giancarlo Stanton's level of frustration.

After seeing the slugger go hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts in Friday's 5-0 loss at Atlanta, Marlins manager Mike Redmond decided a day off was in order.

So on Saturday night, Stanton was out of the starting lineup for the first time since the All-Star break. The 23-year-old slugger had been a fixture in all 21 games prior to getting a breather, amid his 3-for-17 road trip.

"I've tried to stick with him over the last couple of days," Redmond said. "It seems that he is really grinding. It didn't look like he was having a whole lot of fun out there. So, give him a day to kind of regroup. Sometimes just a day to sit and relax and not really think about your swing will help guys. Hopefully that's the case with him."

Overall, it's been a rough season for the right fielder, an All-Star in 2012 when he finished second in the National League in homers with 37. This year, Stanton is batting .241 with 13 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Justin Ruggiano made the start in right field on Saturday night.

Ruggiano also has had his struggles, as he entered the game in an 0-for-38 rut, the longest drought ever by a Marlins position player.

"I was thinking about that last night," Redmond said. "That's kind of where we're at. We need to get some hits out of him.

"Believe me, it's not a perfect situation. But at the same time, too, somebody has got to go out there and do something. Rugg is due. He's definitely due."

Stanton is the centerpiece of a rebuilt Marlins offense. Not producing has worn on him.

Actually, Redmond considered resting Stanton a few days ago in Pittsburgh. But Stanton showed some encouraging signs, which led to him remaining in the third spot in the batting order.

"I think he's frustrated," Redmond said. "I feel like he is trying to do too much. He understands how important he is to this lineup. But at the same time, too, he's one guy. He can't do everything. He can't carry the offense. I feel, sometimes he tries to do that. It's just not something he's capable of doing. He has to do his part."

Rookie Yelich remaining even-keeled at plate

MIA@PIT: Yelich adds to lead with first career homer

ATLANTA -- Calm and cool is how Christian Yelich approaches the game, so it is only natural that he has the same demeanor at the plate.

The 21-year-old Marlins rookie entered Saturday night's game with the Braves riding a nine-game hitting streak, and he is treating each day like the one before.

"I haven't really treated it any differently, my at-bats or approach," said Yelich, who extended the hit streak to 10 with a leadoff single off Braves lefty Alex Wood. "You just try to go up there and have a consistent approach, and you look to have a quality at-bat every time you're up there.

"At the end of the day, it will play out in your favor if you go out and do that. Obviously, it's not going to work out every time. But if you have good at-bats and swing at good pitches [to hit], good things will happen to you."

Easier said than done.

What makes Yelich so successful is his mechanics are very good. He has a picturesque swing from the left side, and he isn't bothered hitting in any count.

During his streak, which started on July 31, he has 15 hits, which is tied for the seventh-highest amount in the Majors.

Seattle's Kendrys Morales and Atlanta's Justin Upton each have 18 hits, the most since July 31.

"I try to have good at-bats," said Yelich, batting .405 in the streak.

Leading off, Yelich is seeing his share of pitches, and he has found himself in a number of full-count situations of late.

"Full-counts just happen," he said. "I don't really have an explanation for that."

The elite hitters have a way of producing with two strikes. Yelich says he is comfortable in those situations.

"You're going to hit with two strikes a lot here, because guys are pounding the zone, and they throw all their pitches for strikes," the rookie said. "If you're not comfortable hitting with two strikes, it's probably not a good thing. It doesn't faze me."