Jazz Chisholm Jr. is the first confirmed 2022 Marlins All-Star. It was announced Friday that he beat out Ozzie Albies of the Braves for the National League’s starting second base job, as determined by fan voting. The first-ever Bahamian-born All-Star, he joins Hanley Ramírez, Dee Strange-Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Gary Sheffield and Giancarlo Stanton as the only Marlins to be fan-elected starters.
Chisholm opened up the regular season buried at the bottom of a veteran-laden Marlins lineup, but he quickly asserted himself as the club’s most impactful position player. He has amassed 2.5 fWAR in his 60 games played this season, slashing .254/.325/.535 (140 wRC+) with 14 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He’s been especially productive in the clutch and better than ever defensively.
Even more so than the All-Star-caliber stats, Jazz’s popularity with MLB fans is rooted in his personality, both on and off the field. He’s taking selfies with them and signing autographs for them before every game, he’s clapping back at rude fans and rude umpires, and he’s euro-stepping every home run. He loudly celebrates his successes but still hustles to make sure bang-bang plays usually go in his favor.
For Albies to receive even more votes than Jazz during the first phase of voting speaks to the influence of the Braves fanbase. In 62 games, Albies has far inferior numbers across the board (.244/.289/.405, 90 wRC+, 8 HR, 3 SB, 1.1 fWAR). Twice selected as an All-Star in the past, he fractured his foot on June 13 and isn’t projected to return for at least another month. That inactivity helped Chisholm pull away with 59% of the total vote during the second phase, which was a head-to-head matchup with Albies.
Chisholm is the Marlins’ youngest position player All-Star since Stanton in 2012 (Stanton’s age-22 season). He won’t be their lone representative this year. Sandy Alcantara will inevitably be picked for the NL pitching staff and has made a compelling case to start the game. Pablo López is a borderline candidate while Garrett Cooper and Anthony Bass merit honorable mentions.
By the way, Chisholm is on the IL too with a right lower back strain. As of Thursday, his rehab in Jupiter involved running, groundball drills and core/mobility work (via Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald). He has not been officially ruled out of All-Star Game participation yet. General manager Kim Ng told McPherson that she’s “not really sure” about his return-to-play timeline, understandably prioritizing having him available for as many real games as possible following the break without risking re-injury.
“I feel like I should be able to play,” Chisholm told the media on Friday via Zoom shortly after the announcement.