Thinking back to Spring Training, Jazz Chisholm Jr. won the second-base job over Isan Díaz, the former Marlins Minor League Player of the Year. Even though he wasn’t consistent at first, he finished pretty strong to claim the everyday spot.
So far, the young slugger is proving that was the right call for the Marlins. In the early going, Chisholm is torturing the opposition and destroying balls for extra-base hits, just like he did in Wednesday’s win against the Braves.
Chisholm finished Wednesday with seven hits across 27 at-bats in nine games. Five of his hits have gone for extra-bases (two doubles, one triple, and two home runs). Besides that, he has registered five ribbies, four scored runs, three steals (three attempts), seven bases on balls, and 10 strikeouts. His slash line? .259/.400/.630 with a 1.030 OPS, which ranks third among National League rookies.
But you gotta dig deeper to like Jazz even more.
The 23-year-old is CRUSHING balls. According to Baseball Savant, his average exit velocity sits at 93.5 MPH, way above league average (88.3 MPH) and is a notable increase from his 2020 number (87.1 MPH). As a great combination, his barrel percentage (27.8%) is among the best marks in the league (top 1%). Those are the main reasons for his .735 expected slugging percentage.
Chisholm is getting rewarded for elevating the ball. So far, 50 percent of the balls he’s put in play have gone to the air, similar levels to what he did in the minors. As long as you’re doing that with quality contact, you’re gonna get plenty of extra-base hits, and even he’s held inside the ballpark, Jazz has the speed to make more out of those opportunities than the ordinary power threat.
Chisholm is complementing his raw power with patience at the plate. He’s swung at only 37.4 percent of the total pitches he’s seen, notably below league average (46.9%). That’s why Chisholm’s BB% is at 20.0% (top 5%).
The young second baseman deserves credit here. Just take a look at how many close pitches he hasn’t gone after:
Chisholm has his flaws, most notably whiffing on 40.4 percent of his swings (league average is 24.4%). However, let me tell you something you’re probably not expecting: a cut in his strikeout rate could be around the corner.
Why? Well, Chisholm doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone that often (20.8%). Instead, he’s missed at 32.4 percent of the pitches he’s swung at IN the strike zone. If he continues to be selective, that should normalize to some extent.
Just take a glimpse at every swing and miss for him during the 2021 season...
For Jazz, there’s still even more upside. And we could see that pretty soon. The Marlins and their fans are enjoying the birth of an electrifying talent, unlike any other position player that they’ve had since this rebuild began.