It’s no longer a matter of if but when Jazz Chisholm will find permanent residence with Miami at the big league level. And judging by the performance of the fourth-ranked Marlins prospect at camp this spring, the answer might very well be now.
Signed by the D-backs for $200,000 out of the Bahamas in 2015, Chisholm immediately landed among the club’s Top 30 prospects in 2016 at No. 24. The shortstop had played his way to the top of Arizona’s prospect list to begin the 2019 campaign when he was dealt to the Marlins at the Trade Deadline for righty Zac Gallen. In his first game with his new organization, Chisholm hit the ground running for the Jumbo Shrimp.
The 23-year-old made his debut in The Show last season, amassing four extra-base hits, eight runs scored and six RBIs in 21 games with Miami. Chisholm also left his mark during the Marlins' postseason run to the National League Division Series.
Over 315 career Minor League games, Chisholm posted a .255/.327/.462 slash line with 56 home runs, 16 triples, 50 doubles and 49 stolen bases on 61 total attempts. The Bahama native played every inning over that stretch but one at shortstop, sporting a .940 fielding percentage. The outlier came in 2016 with Rookie Advanced Missoula.
But with an opening at second base, the Marlins hope MLB Pipeline's No. 66 overall prospect can make the transition to the other side of the infield for Opening Day. So far, so good.
“He’s a shortstop by nature. That’s what he’s been pretty much his whole life. But obviously we have this position open at second base, so we just need for him to get prepared there. In terms of what he’s shown us there, it doesn’t look like it’s been a hard transition for him,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng told reporters via Zoom last week. “He just has tremendous tools, great agility, great feet, very quick twitch muscles and it doesn’t look like him moving to the other side is giving him any problems.”
2016 (Rookie Advanced Missoula)
Chisholm spent his entire first season in pro ball in the Pioneer League. He appeared in 62 games with Missoula and led all Osprey batters in hits (70), runs scored (42) and stolen bases (13). His 111 total bases ranked second on the club, as he finished the season with a .281/.333/.446 slash line and nine homers, a triple, 12 doubles, 42 runs scored and 37 RBIs.
He was named a Midseason All-Star as he also flashed the defensive skills that earned him plus marks for fielding and arm tools. Chisholm posted a .921 fielding percentage at short over 60 starts. His play helped him rise to the No. 7 spot on Arizona’s prospect list at the end of that year.
2017 (Class A Kane County)
Chisholm had some bad luck during his sophomore season. The 5-foot-11, 184-pounder was in the midst of a six-game hitting streak with the Cougars when he tore the meniscus in his right knee during batting practice. The injury ended his season after just 29 games.
“It’s a real struggle knowing that you’re hurt,” he told MiLB.com. “You’re back at the bottom again.”
Before the injury, Chisholm was batting .248 with eight extra-base hits, 14 runs scored and 12 RBIs. He was also a perfect 3-for-3 on stolen-base attempts.
2018 (Class A Kane County, Class A Advanced Visalia)
Chisholm’s third pro season may have been the most important in terms of his development. The then 20-year-old was able to stay on the field for 112 games and show exactly what he could do with a clean bill of health.
“Jazz really grew up this year,” D-backs vice president of player development Mike Bell told MiLB.com following that season. “He matured off the field and as a player with his discipline and knowledge during the game.”
Chisholm returned to Kane County to open the season, appearing in 76 games before being promoted to the Cal League. With Visalia, Chisholm found a new gear, posting a .329/.369/.597 slash line with 10 dingers and nine swipes in 36 games. The lefty swinger finished the year with 25 homers and 17 stolen bases across both levels and earned MiLB Organization All-Star honors.
“It was a great opportunity, especially to play with the guys I played with the year before [in Kane County] – they went straight to the Cal League this year,” he told MiLB.com. “That I got to play with them again made it more fun … and I was enjoying myself.”
Chisholm brought that momentum to the Arizona Fall League. He put together four multi-hit efforts through his first six games and posted a .444 average with a pair of homers and six RBIs.
2019 (Double-A Jackson, Double-A Jacksonville)
Chisholm’s performance in 2018 helped catapult him to the top of Arizona’s prospect list entering 2019, as well into the overall Top 100 as MLB.com’s No. 54 prospect in the game.
The shortstop also received his first invite to big league camp. He went 3-for-14 in 11 Cactus League games before being assigned to the Southern League.
Chisholm appeared in 89 games for the Generals and mashed 18 dingers with 51 runs scored, 44 RBIs and 13 stolen bases before being dealt to Miami. In his first at-bat with his new organization, he went yard, tripled and singled.
Chisholm finished the year as one of 14 Minor Leaguers to post a 20-15 season – his second consecutive such effort – with 21 taters and 16 swiped bags combined. He was named a Southern League Postseason All-Star.
The native of Nassau, Bahamas spent most of 2020 working at Miami’s alternate training site in Jupiter, Florida, before getting called up to the club in September. He put together his best big league performance at the plate at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 27 when he homered, doubled, drove in three runs and scored twice.
"You like a lot of things about Jazz as far as his energy, his fast twitch, what we feel like he's going to be able to do and become," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after that game. "And you got to look into that window a little bit today of what you have a chance to get from a guy like that."
In Game 3 of the NLDS, Chisholm notched his first Major League Postseason start and went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
He was added to the Marlins' 40-man roster during the offseason. And this spring, Chisholm appears to be playing his way into the starting second base job for the Marlins. The 23-year-old accounted for Miami’s first spring dinger in his first Grapefruit League action of the year.
"It felt great to start off with a bang," Chisholm told MLB.com. "Coming into Spring Training ... I've been working really hard, and glad to see that I showed it from the first at-bat.
"We know we're in the hardest division in the league, and we're going to live up to the hype of the division. We're not just going to sit down and let everybody trample over us, so we're coming out hot."
Through 12 Grapefruit League games, Chisholm batted .217 with a pair of homers, three RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base while sporting a perfect fielding percentage in 24 total chances at second.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.