Get to know new Marlins infielder Jacob Amaya

April 9th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

If you go back to January, you'll remember the Marlins acquired Jacob Amaya in a trade with the Dodgers for their longest-tenured player and clubhouse leader Miguel Rojas.

Ranked as Miami's No. 9 prospect, the 24-year-old Amaya could be the franchise's future shortstop. An 11th-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, his plate discipline and defense made him an organizational favorite in Los Angeles.

With Joey Wendle/Jon Berti at shortstop, Jean Segura at third and Luis Arraez at second, Amaya has time to continue developing behind the veterans. In 2022, he slashed .261/.369/.426 with 20 doubles, four triples and 17 homers between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

At media day in February, manager Skip Schumaker called Amaya one of the players he was most excited to see. Before being optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville, Amaya was working on his timing and being more consistent with his swing pattern at big league camp. He also saw reps at second base.

"I think he can make any play at the big league level," Schumaker said. "It's the offensive side that needs to take the next step. I'm excited about the work he's been doing this offseason. I'm excited who our hitting coaches are for him to take that next step. He had Brant Brown in L.A., so they have a good relationship already."

In this prospect Q&A, get to know Amaya off the field. Stay tuned for other prospect Q&As. If you had to do karaoke, what would your song be?
Amaya: "Came and Saw" by Young Thug. Would you have to look at the screen?
Amaya: I think I would know it by heart. Do you have a pregame ritual?
Amaya: Come in, put on my headphones and listen to some kind of calming or soothing music, like some rainfall-type deal. What's your favorite food?
Amaya: I'll have to go with some spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. What's something you can't live without?
Amaya: Video games. What's your go-to right now?
Amaya: Call of Duty. You're from L.A. What's the most L.A. thing about you?
Amaya: My tattoos. What's your favorite one, and when did you get it? And why then and there?
Amaya: Philippians 4:13. "I can do anything through Christ." 2018. Probably just the best spot to fit my inner bicep. I was really big on getting my sleeves at that time, so that's why I kind of got it. Your grandfather played baseball and was in the Dodgers' organization, too. I'm guessing you grew up a Dodgers fan. What was it like being drafted by them?
Amaya: Crazy how that whole thing happened. When I got drafted, it was like 15 minutes, my whole family was at my house. Even with traffic they somehow got [there that quickly]. It was fun. A lot of knowledge that is in my head from being there. What's the best advice your grandfather gave you?
Amaya: The one that stuck with me was just keep your nose clean with everything. What's your hitting philosophy?
Amaya: Pretty much just trying to get into the positions where I can hit, where I'm most dominant. I can hit an offspeed down and away or 98 [mph] up and in. Just trying to get into the right spots. You're known for your glove. At what point did you know you were good defensively, and how did you get to that point?
Amaya: When I was young, my dad would always get me on a knee, no-glove type thing. He would hit balls at me with no glove, and there was a ball with, like, little lumps in it. Throw it against the wall, and it would come back at you different ways. What do you miss most about home?
Amaya: Probably just family and friends. I don't really do too much in the offseason. It's work out, come back home and hang out with my niece and my brother and his girlfriend, when they come home. Not In-N-Out?!
Amaya: That's a good one. I wasn't even thinking about that, and I had it before I left, too. What's your go-to order?
Amaya: I tried to watch my weight before I came, but 4x4, chopped chilis, grilled onions, add pickle, of course. I would say shake, but I hardly get it. But let's go shake -- let's do chocolate or strawberry. What would you be doing if you weren't playing baseball?
Amaya: I'd be back home. Maybe I would start up a Twitch and do something with the whole video-game scene. Some of them make good money...
Amaya: If you're big -- not even if you're big -- if you're coming up, there's the whole YouTube and the whole streaming thing, and that's where the money-makers are at for sure.