Black MLB Players You Need To Know About #26: Jazz Chisholm

Background + Path to Professional Baseball

Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm is a twenty-three-year-old Afro-Bahamian from Nassau, Bahamas who plays for the Miami Marlins. Chisholm’s path to professional baseball started when he was scouted and signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as an international amateur free agent during the 2015 J2 Signing Period, receiving a 200,000 dollar signing bonus after he put his signature on the dotted line.

Chisholm was taught how to play the game by his maternal grandmother, a woman who was the star shortstop on Bahama’s national softball teams. Chisholm was inspired to have his expressive and electric style of play after he witnessed his grandmother run the bases during the game when he was a toddler. Chisholm talks to his grandmother after every game he plays, which illustrates how instrumental she has been in Chisholm’s path to professional baseball.

Chisholm’s professional career started in 2016 when he was assigned to a rookie ball affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks at the age of 18, and each year after he made a methodical rise through the Minor League Baseball levels. During his first two seasons in the lower minors, Chisholm put up lackluster statistical numbers, averaging a 95 wRC+ in his first 91 games between Rookie ball and Low-A(A). In 2018 and 2019, Chisholm showed great improvement and put up a 136 wRC+ between 224 games at Low-A(A), High-A(A+), and Double-A(AA).

After the 2018 season, Chisholm began to appear on the Top 100 Prospects lists because of the uncommon combination of speed, power, and defensive ability he possessed as a shortstop. During the 2019 season, Chisholm was traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Miami Marlins for Zac Gallen.

Jazz Chisholm made his debut in Major League Baseball on September 1st, 2020 for the Miami Marlins as a late-inning defensive replacement. He became the seventh Bahamian to play in MLB, and the second to do so during the 21st century. Chisholm is the starting second baseman for the Miami Marlins during the 2021 season, but the Marlins organization has repeatedly stated that they believe he will be their starting shortstop from a long-term standpoint.

Player Profile

Jazz Chisholm is 5'11'’ and weighs 184 pounds. He bats left-handed and throws right-handed. Chisholm was a full-time shortstop in the minor leagues and has been deployed at second base and shortstop during his short stint in the majors.

Jazz Chisholm has an explosive and crisp left-handed swing that he says is modeled after the swings of fellow left-handed hitters Robinson Cano and Ken Griffey Jr. Chisholm’s quick wrists, ability to rotate his midsection and utilize his lower body in the batter’s box, and natural loft in his swing mechanics is what allows him to frequently make hard contact at the plate. Chisholm’s average exit velocity in the minors was 91 mph, and 48% of the balls he put play were above 95 mph. Throughout his professional career, Chisholm has put up ISO numbers well above those of the average shortstop. The caveat to the power Chisholm can tap into at the plate by utilizing his athleticism is the fact that he strikes out at a high rate due to an aggressive free-swinging approach.

Even with the high strikeout rates, Chisholm has shown the ability to take a fair share of walks as well. Chisholm posted walk rates around 8% during his time in the lower minors, and during his time in the upper minors and at the major league level his walk rate increased to 11%. This is a sign that Chisholm is making adjustments and learning, and it is an indicator of future success.

Due to the natural loft and explosiveness in his swing, Chisholm frequently hits line drives and flyballs with optimal exit velocities that lead to high BABIPs. Chisholm’s BABIPs are also enhanced by his speed, as he is able to leg out infield hits. In the minors, Chisholm had a pull-heavy approach, but since debuting in the majors he has begun to shift to an all fields approach.

Jazz Chisholm has elite-tier sprint speed and has shown he can be an elite baserunner throughout his professional career. Chisholm is an aggressive baserunner with excellent instincts. Chisholm racked up triples in the minors, and also stole bases at an extremely efficient rate. In his first 21 games of the 2021 season, Chisholm has stolen seven bases and has yet to be caught. Chisholm is the type of baserunner that can easily steal 20+ bags per year and put up a BsR over three whether or not he’s stealing bases at a high rate.

From a defensive perspective, Jazz Chisholm has all of the tools to be an elite defender at shortstop. He has plus range and explosiveness to go with a very strong throwing arm. These traits also give him the versatility to play other positions, and with Miguel Rojas being the starting shortstop for the Marlins most of Chisholm’s playing time in MLB has come at second base.

Conclusion

Due to his vibrant and outgoing personality that matches the explosiveness, he displays in every facet of his game, Jazz Chisholm has a chance to be a star. Chisholm headlines a long list of talented Afro-Caribbean prospects to come out of The Bahamas during the 2010s and is the first one to make it to the majors. Even though he has not accrued that much service time at the major league level, Chisholm has shown why he was so highly thought of in the minor leagues.

sports journalist, film director, writer of novels/screenplays/comics, etc.