Chisholm blasts off, may be 2B front-runner

Prospect launches homer with fifth-highest exit velocity by a Marlin since 2018

March 17th, 2021

JUPITER, Fla. -- With 15 days to go before Opening Day, Jazz Chisholm submitted his latest case for the Marlins' second-base job in Wednesday afternoon's 3-2 walk-off win over the Mets at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

Chisholm, MLB Pipeline's No. 66 overall prospect, hit a solo shot to right field off Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman in the fifth inning. After taking a big cut and swinging through a 2-0 sinker, he didn't miss the next pitch -- a 94.5-mph sinker up and in. The blast had an exit velocity of 112.7 mph, which is harder than any homer the Marlins connected on last season, according to Statcast. Only four have been hit harder for a home run since 2018 (aka the post-Giancarlo Stanton era). It traveled a projected 393 feet, with a launch angle of 25 degrees.

"I was really trying to just put balls in play hard early in the spring, work from the ground up," Chisholm said during a Zoom call. "The last two games, me and a couple of the hitting coaches were just like, 'All right, time to let it loose. The season's almost around the corner. Let's get it going and take some hacks, you know?' So today, [I] just was letting some loose and letting the hands work. I know they were big hacks, but I was working more hands still."

Following a leadoff homer to open Grapefruit League play, Chisholm went 1-for-17 with seven strikeouts over his next eight games. But he may be finding his groove at the plate. In his past two contests, the 23-year-old middle infielder is 3-for-4 with his first walk of the spring. Chisholm said he has felt comfortable in the batter's box this past week, seeing and tracking baseballs well.

"In general, it takes guys a little bit of time [to get going]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said during a Zoom call. "He's got a little bit of stuff [that] goes on with his swing. He's been good, for sure, the last two games."

While the Marlins have split second-base reps between Chisholm and Isan Díaz, the former started on Wednesday with most of Miami's projected Opening Day lineup. The organization is intrigued by Chisholm’s positional flexibility as a natural shortstop. Díaz is 2-for-18 with one double, one triple, two RBIs, five walks and six strikeouts in 11 games.