For Jazz in CF, 'repetition' is key; Fulton's 'tough luck'

March 1st, 2023

JUPITER, Fla. -- has spent his entire life playing the infield. He knows the importance of hitting the cutoff man. In his second game manning center field, the Marlins' rising star was unable to do so during Tuesday night's 7-2 loss to the Red Sox at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.  

When Boston prospect Triston Casas sent a third-inning single up the middle with speedy Greg Allen at second, Chisholm uncorked a throw home that soared over the heads of first baseman Garrett Cooper and catcher Austin Allen, sailing all the way to the backstop. Not only did the runner score, but Casas advanced to second on the play.

If there's any silver lining to the sequence, Chisholm's throw was tracked at 93.4 mph. That will most certainly play.

The Marlins aren't sweating these growing pains as Chisholm gets comfortable in center field. In fact, they look forward to them.

"I'd rather make 30 errors in spring than none in spring because no ball was hit to me and [I wasn't] getting the repetition," said Chisholm, who is still waiting for his outfield glove to arrive and was using prospect Osiris Johnson's in the interim. "In BP, you try so hard to mimic it, but it's not the same. In BP, it's just like so much fun, you're not really taking it seriously. So when the game comes around, you take [it] a little bit more serious -- like I caught the fly ball today. It's way different than catching a fly ball in BP."

Once Chisholm was lifted for a pinch-runner following his sixth-inning double, manager Skip Schumaker reminded the 25-year-old that errors in spring don't matter. What's of the utmost importance is encountering various situations in game action.

So far, Chisholm hasn't had too much hit his way. In his center-field debut on Sunday, Nolan Arenado's first-inning broken-bat single dropped in front of him. Chisholm salvaged the play by deking the runner at second, preventing him from scoring.

"You're going to see things early on," said Schumaker, who transitioned from the outfield to the infield himself during his playing career. "This is not a surprise. As athletic and as good of a player as he is, you're going to see these things in Spring Training. I'm glad you're seeing every scenario possible before we start the season. A 10-hopper through the middle with Allen at second base, he's learning the speed of the game in the outfield, just like the other day [with] a broken bat. 

"There's stuff that you just can't replicate until you actually play the game, and I'm happy with how he's going about it," added Schumaker. "Because he came up and hit a double that next time up, so he's not taking that defensive stuff into the offensive stuff. His swings look really, really good. I'm encouraged by the at-bats that he's taking. I liked the slide into second, too. I'm happy where Jazz is, and I'm glad to see these different plays that are happening. It's not just like routine fly balls."

Fulton's spring debut
The Marlins' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, , surrendered four runs on five hits, including a Casas homer on a hanging curveball, with a walk in one-plus inning. He threw 36 pitches (20 strikes) in his first career Spring Training appearance before being pulled. Fulton maxed out at 95 mph.

"Just got to execute pitches better," said Fulton, who ended his 2022 with Double-A Pensacola. "I had some tough luck, but at the same time, I have to put myself into better counts, have to work ahead a little bit better, and all in all, just command the ball better. I think that was my biggest issue."

"I just think that you just never know until you get out there," Schumaker said. "I was as nervous as could be my first time out in Spring Training, and then your second time you can actually breathe, and it looked to me that things were just sped up. The first inning, a lot of balls were up and uncharacteristic of where he usually drives it down and away or down in or whatever it is. Everything seemed like -- fastballs and offspeed -- were just up in the zone.

"The next inning, they were down, but then they were kind of pulled a little bit. This kid is going to be really exciting. He's got a bright, bright future. Does one inning make me think otherwise? No, it's one inning in Spring Training. But it just shows that there's a lot to learn still, but it's still exciting."