Sports

‘Jazz’ moving to center field

Bahamian star baseball player said to be intrigued by the move

According to reports, Bahamian superstar baseball player with the Miami Marlins Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm Jr. is intrigued by the move of manning center field this upcoming season.

Chisholm was the Marlins’ every day starter at second base in 2022 and was having a breakout second full season with the team before getting injured. He was voted into Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star Game as a starter for the National League but couldn’t play due to injury.

After acquiring reigning American League Batting Champion and All-Star infielder Luis Arraez from the Minnesota Twins for Pablo López and a pair of prospects, Marlins’ General Manager Kim Ng announced that Chisholm would be moving from the infield to play center field.

Speed certainly plays a factor as it believed that Chisholm could cover a lot of ground in center field. Chisholm has started at shortstop in the past, but newcomer Jean Segura and Joey Wendle are expected to cover the left side of the infield.

“Jazz is a very unique athlete, very dynamic,” Ng said to Paige Leckie of MLB.com. “He’s got great range, great speed. He’s got a lot of the things that you look for when you’re thinking about center field. We’ve seen how he handles popups, and how he ranges to the ones that are really tough to get to.”

The Marlins traded starting shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers in January, leading to questions of whether or not Chisholm would be moved from second to shortstop. He started 31 games at short for the Marlins in 2021, recording 46 putouts and 77 assists in 133 total chances for a fielding percentage of .925. The same season, he had a fielding percentage of .959 at second base. At second base in 2022, Chisholm had 93 putouts and 123 assists in 220 total chances for an impressive fielding percentage of .982. He has excelled at both second base and shortstop, but has been the Marlins’ Opening Day second baseman the past two seasons.

“We’ve talked about this for a while,” Ng said. “We were never necessarily pressed to think about it meaningfully until probably this offseason. So when this particular opportunity [to pick up Arraez] came up – and we had some of these such scenarios going on – it made us think about it harder. [Jazz is] pretty intrigued and interested in this situation as well, so that made it a lot easier.”

Chisholm was sidelined on June 29 last year with lower back spasms, and it was later determined that he had a stress fracture, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Up to that point, he was batting .254 with 14 home runs, 45 RBIs (runs batted in) and 39 runs scored. He was among the league leaders among second basemen in several offensive categories and was a pillar of stability defensively for the Marlins. He also had 12 stolen bases, an on-base percentage (OBP) of .325 and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .860.

In 2022, Chisholm was among the best defensive second basemen in the National League, but for the immediate future, he will man center field for the Marlins. Arraez will play second base, and Segura and Wendle will be expected to control the left side of the infield for the Marlins.

“You always want to be better, and between the additions and the health, we’re in a much better situation than we were six months ago,” Ng said of their situation heading into MLB’s Spring Training which gets underway at the end of February for the Marlins.

The Marlins finished with a 69-93 win/loss record in 2022 – 32 games behind the National League East winning Atlanta Braves. It was the Marlins’ 12th losing season in the last 13 years. The only time they finished over .500 during that span was the COVID-19 shortened season of 2020 when they advanced to the postseason for the first time in 17 years.

Last season, 24-year-old Chisholm developed into one of the Marlins’ best players and one of the game’s most exciting young stars. He became the first Bahamian to be selected to an all-star appearance in MLB.

In his first full season in 2019, Chisholm finished with a slash line of .248/.303/.425, with a decent 42 percent hard-hit and nine percent barrel rate.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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