One of the Marlins’ key acquisitions of the 2019 trade deadline is now set to make his Major League debut just after the 2020 trade deadline. The Marlins have called up star shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm in time for tonight’s game against the Blue Jays, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter link). The club has officially announced the promotion as well as some other transactions, including outfielder Jesus Sanchez being optioned to the Marlins’ alternate training site and left-hander Josh D. Smith being outrighted to the training site.
Chisholm came to Miami from the Diamondbacks in a one-for-one deal for right-hander Zac Gallen on July 31, 2019. With Gallen already looking like a very solid starter at the MLB level, there will certainly be some extra expectation placed on Chisholm, though the 22-year-old has shown a lot of promise in his pro career.
Signed out of the Bahamas during the 2015-16 international signing window, Chisholm has gained attention on top-100 prospect lists in recent years, though his pre-2020 rankings covered rather a wide range. The Athletic’s Keith Law (who ranked Chisholm 15th) and Fangraphs (33rd) were the most bullish, with Baseball Prospectus (52nd), MLB.com (66th), and Baseball America (88th) not quite as enthusiastic.
Law was impressed at how Chisholm’s strikeout rate dropped after some adjustments made once he joined the Marlins’ farm system, and noted Chisholm’s “elite tool package at a premium position right now,” with “the hands, footwork, and arm to” remain at shortstop over the long term. To provide slight contrast, BA’s scouting report feels Chisholm is too “overly aggressive” at the plate, and won’t be a solid hitter unless he “improves his approach, uses the entire field and puts the ball in play more often.”
Chisholm hasn’t played above the Double-A level, where he combined for 458 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks and Marlins affiliates in 2019. As noted earlier, Chisholm improved once coming to Miami’s farm system — Chisholm hit .284/.383/.494 with three homers in 94 PA with Double-A Jacksonville, as opposed to .204/.305/.427 over 364 PA for Arizona’s affiliate in Jackson. While a small sample size in a Marlins uniform, it does show promise that Chisholm has unlocked something in a new environment.
He will now add some infield depth to what is suddenly a revamped Marlins infield in the wake of Jonathan Villar’s trade to the Blue Jays. Chisholm has played shortstop almost exclusively in his career, though Miami manager Don Mattingly told McPherson and other reporters that Chisholm has been playing second base at the team’s alternate training site. Chisholm could handle second base until Isan Diaz is fully ready to return to the Fish, and then some combination of Chisholm, Diaz, and utilityman Jon Berti (who is a right-handed hitter, unlike the two youngsters) could conceivably juggle second base duties for the remainder of the season.