Jasrado Prince Hermis Arrington Chisholm is a superstar. He is a superstar not just for the Miami Marlins but also for the league. You might tune in to watch the Fish when Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez is pitching, but Jazz might be the sole reason to watch a Marlins game on the hitting side. As you watch, you might wonder if he will hit another bomb off a 100-mph fastball or yet another triple? After the game, you check Twitter to see if somebody has wished that he should be drilled, only to see a reply to the post by Jazz: “Drill ya mama.” That’s just Jazz.
Born in Nassau, Bahama, Jasrado idolised his grandmother, Patricia Coakley, who played softball for the Bahamian softball team. She was his coach growing up and kind of still is. Jazz tells in an interview with the Sports Illustrated that he gets a call from his grandmother exactly one hour after every game, and she gives him feedback. The tone of her voice tells if she is pleased with what she has seen or if there is something he can be better at next time.
Jazz signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as an international free agent back in 2015 for $200,000. In 2017 he represented Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Fast forward to 2019, when Marlins decided to make a 1-on-1 blockbuster deal with the Diamondbacks. Zac Gallen, who had earned himself a spot in the Marlins rotation, was pitching well, but Marlins already had arms in the system coming up, and Gallen was the odd man out to get Jazz to South Beach. Chisholm was ranked as the 59th overall prospect by Baseball America before the 2019 season. Jazz was struggling in Double-A with the Jackson Generals. Despite having a batting average of only .204 but slugging 18 home runs in 89 games, it was enough for the Marlins to take a chance with Jazz.
Miami state of mind
That chance has so far had a good return. Chisholm, becoming the sixth Bahamian born player ever to play in MLB, made his Marlins debut 1 September 2020 against the Toronto Blue Jays as a defensive sub and his first at-bat in the Majors was the next day also against the Blue Jays. He hit his first Major League home run in that horrendous 29-9 loss against the Braves on 9 September 2020. So far (as of 8 June 2022), Chisholm has decent career stats in 677 AB with a .242 batting average with .743 OPS. He has hit 30 home runs.
This Marlins team is averaging four runs scored per game, and it feels like it has had a dreadful start, but looking at the other team batting statistics, the Marlins come up the pretty average. Nothing too crazy to get super excited and not that bad (Avisail Garcia excluded) that you should poke your eyes with a stick to bear with it. After what seemed to be a hopeful month of April in which the Marlins had a seven-game winning streak and finally broke the .500 winning percentage, Marlins went back to their old ways and collapsed. There was a six-game losing streak straight after the winning streak, and that .500 winning percentage is just a distant memory as they now stand seven games under with a 23-30 record. What makes this more painful is that the Fish is not a punching bag. They have the most one-run losses in the league with 15 – that is half their total losses.
Then there is Jazz. When Jazz is hot, Marlins’ bats are hot. Marlins manager Don Mattingly platoons his side against left-handed pitchers in a way that Chisholm doesn’t have a spot in it. Some Marlins fans, myself included, haven’t been on board with these decisions, as it feels like the best player on the team should be playing every day. So does Jazz himself, as he made clear on social media that he was not happy with the situation.
Jazz was benched against the Diamondbacks on 10 May, and the Marlins lost that game as the veteran lefty, Madison Bumgarner, led the Snakes to the win. The next day Jazz was back in the lineup, and what happened in that game I would like to call Donnielytics. Marlin’s erupted in the ninth inning in that game. After Bryan De La Cruz and Jacob Stallings both singled with two outs, Jazz came to the plate. He hit a 411ft bomb off Mark Melancon, scoring three runs and the Marlins cruised to the 11-3 victory.
Donnielytics. Analytical approach to the game of baseball by Marlins manager Don Mattingly, in which you bench your best player to get him so mad that he uses his frustration in the next game and hits bombs.
Jokes aside, of course, it’s just simple analytics. Jazz is struggling against the lefties, but how are they going to address the situation in the future is the bigger question. I’m not a baseball coach (breaking news here people) but for God’s sake, get him some reps against the lefties to get better. I know it’s not as black and white as it sounds, and I’m coaching here on the sofa with chips crumbling on my shirt, but clearly something needs to be done.
Jazz is Miami and Miami is Jazz. He needs to play. Not just for the team but also for the fans in the stands. Miami has been a running joke about attendances, and trust me, I’ve heard all of them. People pay to see players like Jazz.Embed from Getty Images
In that SI interview, Jazz talks about how veteran players early in his career had told him to stop being so flashy, and he, as a young ballplayer, listened to those voices and struggled. Why? Because he was not Jazz. I’ve watched the Seattle Mariners video about how Julio Rodriguez got the call to the Majors. Mariners manager Scott Servais told him to be Julio Rodriguez. Not anybody else. That is the key. Be yourself.
Marlins need to understand what they have in their hands. They have one of the most marketable players in the game, and he also delivers on the field. This ain’t quantum mechanics, Bruce Sherman. He is flashy, he is electric, and he is exciting. He is everything the Marlins hoped for him to be and then some. Play your best players. The headline of this article is from legendary jazz musician Art Blakey. Jazz really washes away the dust of everyday life. I might even dye my hair blue if this team ever wins anything while Jazz is on the team. So, ya like Jazz? I know I do. All that Jazz.
Stay safe and Go Fish!
Featured image of Jazz Chisholm by Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
Tomi Korkeamäki is the Miami Marlins correspondent for Bat Flips & Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki