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2023 Marlins Season Preview: Jacob Amaya

The newly acquired shortstop prospect could see a ton of big league time in 2023.

Photo by Andrés Bolívar/Con Las Bases Llenas

For the first time since 2017, Miguel Rojas will not be the Marlins’ opening-day shortstop. After an impressive 8-year tenure with Miami, Rojas was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for infield prospect Jacob Amaya.

Amaya won’t be the starting shortstop for Miami on Opening Day, but he should be considered to form part of the big league roster out of Spring Training.

Jacob Amaya was drafted out of high school in the 11th round of the 2017 draft. He is a glove-first prospect currently ranked 12th in the system according to MLB Pipeline.

Amaya, in his short career, has struggled to adjust immediately to new levels. However, in his second go-around at each level, he tends to perform much better. For example, in his first taste of rookie ball in 2017, he produced an OPS of .720. The following season, he excelled at that same level (1.000 OPS in 155 PA) but then struggled after an in-season promotion to Low-A (.696 OPS). In 2019 at Low-A, he improved his OPS by almost 100 points and earned a promotion to High-A, where—you guessed it—he struggled.

After the lost 2020 season, he was given a difficult assignment to start at AA in 2021, which was the worst year of his young career. He slashed .216/.303/.343 at Tulsa. He was invited to the Arizona Fall League that off-season, where he played well in limited action.

Then came 2022, the best season of his career thus far. After crushing AA pitching (.870 OPS in 216 PA), he earned a promotion to AAA, where he didn’t perform as well but held his own with a .749 OPS. His power numbers during that ‘22 season were also quite impressive. He hit 17 home runs, 20 doubles, and four triples between AA and AAA, and slugged a combined .427 on the year; outstanding for a glove-first shortstop.

Another plus for Amaya is that he rarely strikes out. He carries a 19.1 K% in his career (2,016 Minor League plate appearances) along with a 13.9 BB%.

His ability to get on base, make contact, and play 60-grade defense at a premium position makes Jacob Amaya a precious commodity for the Marlins.

Opening Day roster?

While Joey Wendle is expected to get most of the playing time at shortstop for Miami this coming season, it would behoove the Marlins to consider Amaya as a platoon option for the position right out of the Spring.

Amaya, a gifted fielder, would be the perfect compliment to lefty Joey Wendle at short. When he faced left-handed pitching in 2022, Amaya hit .320/.423/.541 in 75 games. He was Giancarlo Stanton in those matchups. Meanwhile, in his limited sample against lefties last year, Wendle slashed .230/.300/.295. It’s been a deficiency for most of his career and that’s unlikely to change at age 33.


Amaya offers defensive versatility, an exceptional ability to hit lefties, and Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop. While Wendle more than handles himself defensively at short, his natural position is at third or second. Amaya could be summoned to pinch-hit and/or play defense in the later innings. He’s a more sensible choice than someone like Garrett Hampson, for example, to take that role early in the season.

Amaya will report to Spring Training along with the rest of the squad on February 21, with their first game just four days later. He will be given every opportunity to prove himself, even more so this year because the World Baseball Classic coincides with Spring Training and Marlins infielders Luis Arraez and Jean Segura will be participating. If he convinces the organization that he is Major League-ready right away, he could prove to be a great asset for the team all year long.