Player To Be Named Later: #1
by Mac Squibb
January 26, 2019
Hopefully this is the first installment in a series of articles that spotlight a player or group of players for any number of reasons including being overvalued or overlooked, possessing a unique quality, or making a noteworthy change. This time we’ll be looking at a minor leaguer who is primed to skyrocket up prospect rankings in 2019. Before I introduce the mystery player, let’s take a look at a comparison between him and another prospect.
Early in their development both young prospects have shown the ability to hit for average and power, get on base, and swipe a few bags. Player A obviously has the major OBP advantage and leads in stolen bases while player B has the advantage in home runs. It’s worth noting that Player A was caught stealing 15 times while Player B was caught only 4 times. Would your opinion of these two players change if I told you that Player A was 6’3” and 185 lbs while Player B is just 5’11” and 165 lbs? You read that right, 5’11”, 165 lbs and he hit 25 home runs in just over 500 plate appearances. In the last two seasons there have only been four MLB players under 6’ and 185 lbs who have hit at least 20 home runs: Jose Ramirez (5’6”, 165 lbs), Mookie Betts (5’9”, 180 lbs), Jose Altuve (5’6”, 165 lbs), and Ozzie Albies (5’8”, 165 lbs). Enter Player B, AKA Jasardo “Jazz” Chisholm, the Bahamian prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks who may be the next member of that group. This year in 76 A-ball games, Chisholm hit 15 home runs while slashing .244/.311/.472 which was good for a 119 wRC+. He then caught fire after being called up to high-A and hit .329/.369/.597 with 10 home runs and a 156 wRC+ in 36 games.
Coming into 2018 Jazz was ranked 7th in the Diamondbacks organization and finished the year as the teams 3rd ranked prospect by MLB.com but wasn’t a top 100 overall player. Player A wasn’t ranked at all in his system prior to his breakout season but found himself as the 54th overall prospect in baseball, 4th best with his team, after his performance. Followed by another solid season, Player A now sits as the 2nd overall prospect in baseball. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Player A is future Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
There are some noteworthy differences between the two players that likely contribute to the discrepancies in their progress among prospects rankings. The first of which is, despite both being young for the level, Tatis Jr. was just 18 years old when he broke out and Chisholm had already turned 20. Jazz has also experienced strikeout issues to a larger degree than Tatis Jr did. During his breakout in Single-A, Tatis Jr. had a 23.9% strikeout rate, however, this past season in AA it rose to 27.7% which is far from perfect. But even Tatis Jr’s strikeout rate would have been better than Jazz’s which was 29.7% across both levels in 2018. Tatis Jr. also possesses an above average arm, given a 60 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, while Chisholm was given an average grade of 50.
Jazz is by no means Fernando Tatis Jr, however, he has continually done everything to prove that he should be following a similar trajectory. The Diamondbacks decided to send Jazz to the Arizona Fall League at the end of last year where he faced some of the best competition in the minors including top prospects Vlad Guerrero Jr, Forrest Whitley, and Bo Bichette. Jazz continued the hot streak he started in High-A and went absolutely berserk to the tune of a .442/.489/.597 triple slash with 7 stolen bases, 4 walks, and only 8 strikeouts in 47 PA’s. That would equate to a strikeout rate of 17% which is a significant improvement from A/A+ and was against talent that “is rivaled only by the All-Star Futures Game”.
I actually first became aware of Jazz while he was in the AFL. I happened to be scrolling through instagram when I saw a video of a left handed hitter hit an absolute missle to right-center. Based on the trajectory of the ball off the bat I assumed that the ball was a gapper and that I was about to see him blaze around the bases. Nope. Jazz parked the ball up on the right-center field terrace and rounded the bases for a home run.
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Jazz Chisholm (@_jazz3) is a 5’11” 165 lb. SS out of Nassau, Bahamas. One of the more promising prospects in the Diamondbacks’ farm system. Raw power at the plate and hits to all fields. Defensively, he’s light on his feet with very fluid actions and a strong arm. 20 years old.
Jazz displays phenomenal power not just for someone his size, but in general. In fact, his 25 combined home runs led all MiLB shortstops in 2018. Here are Jazz’s and Tatis Jr’s estimated fly ball distances during their breakout seasons (credit Minor Graphs).
Tatis Jr. clearly showed notable improvement that helped elevate his stock but Jazz was no slouch either. As a matter of fact, both of their minor league career averages, the dashed lines, are nearly identical. The increase in flyball distance bodes well for Jazz’s future power output as flyball distance has one of the best correlations with power metrics such as HR/FB, ISO, and Hard%.
Jazz isn’t quite of the same pedigree as Tatis Jr, however, he displays many similar qualities to him but has yet to receive any of the recognition. Despite his size, Jazz has power that is not only real, but among the best in the minors at his position. He’s also shown an improvement in strikeouts such that his track record is something to be aware of but not necessarily a deciding or limiting factor. Diamondbacks prospect Jazz Chisholm is a player to remember as he’s set to climb the prospect ladder in 2019.
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