Miami Marlins

Why Derek Jeter is excited about Jazz Chisholm — and Miami will start games earlier in 2020

Derek Jeter hasn’t gone to see Jazz Chisholm since the top-100 prospect joined the Miami Marlins’ organization at the trade deadline. The CEO did, however, see shortstop play last year when Chisholm was still a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization playing in the Arizona Fall League

Jeter, of course a former shortstop himself, could immediately tell Chisholm had something naturally special to him.

“I went to the Arizona Fall League last year to look at some of our players and it took about three innings when I said, ‘Who is that?’” Jeter said Wednesday. “He’s someone that stood out on the field and obviously he has all the tools to be successful.”

The No. 58 overall prospect in MLB.com’s rankings, Chisholm came to the Marlins on the final day of July when Miami sent starting pitcher Zac Gallen, a recent member of MLB.com’s top 100, to the Diamondbacks. Although the infielder batted just .204 in 89 games with Double A Jackson to start the year, he is off to a 12-for-42 start with three home runs for Double A Jacksonville in 12 games since the trade.

Chisholm now has 21 home runs in 2019, although he has also struck out 135 times. The 21-year-old from the Bahamas is batting .213 with a .375 on-base percentage and .595 slugging percentage for the season.

“You have to make sure you continue to develop him,” Jeter said. “I’m going to see him here in the next week or so, get a chance to obviously introduce myself and speak to him a little bit, but he’s very, very high upside.”

The actual trade to bring in Chisholm was a bit of a gamble. Gallen was quickly establishing himself as an obvious MLB talent with a 2.72 ERA in seven starts for the Marlins (44-75) before the trade. In two starts with Arizona, Gallen has pitched nine innings, allowed two earned runs, struck out nine and walked four.

Because of the pitching depth across the organization, Miami felt it was a move it could afford to make, despite how well Gallen had already acquitted himself. In three deadline trades, the Marlins sent out three major-league pitchers and brought back three position players who now rank among Miami’s top 13 prospects.

“We were dealing, in our minds, from an organizational strength,” Jeter said. “We felt as though pitching is one of the strengths we had in the organization at the time and we want to continue to acquire top-notch position players, which we were able to do.”

Jeter spoke to reporters for about 10 minutes before Miami played the second game of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday at Marlins Park — the series against the Dodgers (81-41) wraps up at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday in Miami — and he touched on a number of topics, including manager Don Mattingly’s up-in-the-air status for 2020. Here’s what he said about a few other subjects:

On the 6:40 p.m. start times scheduled for weekday home games in April, May and September: “I think it’s consistent with what we’ve done since last season, listening to our fan base. We wanted to make sure that we accommodate some of those fans that said they’d like to come straight from work to the ballpark and some that said they’d like to get home a little bit earlier. There’s been a few teams in Major League Baseball around the league that have done the same thing, so we’re going to test it out and see how it is, but it all comes from the feedback.

“You hope it helps increase attendance. We’ve invested in affordability from our ownership. We want this to be an option for South Florida. It needs to be an affordable entertainment option and also, when you talk about attendance, we have never shied away from it. ... We need to increase the attendance numbers here. There’s been some games, especially last weekend, where we had close to 30,000 people in here and you just see the energy level. I’m just talking from a player’s standpoint. When you have that many people in here, it makes it a whole lot easier to play and I think our players are very vocal about that. Look: We’re still trying to develop trust. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we’ve seen a steady increase in our attendance numbers throughout the year, especially from June to July I think our attendance numbers increased like 15 percent, so we’ve still got a long way to go, we’ve got a lot of work to do. But I like to think we’re heading in the right direction.”

On the increased importance of power hitting in the Majors: “I think that’s no secret. It’s a reason why, especially in this last year, you’re talking about draft, you’re talking about trades and the international market, we’ve been able to acquire some players that we feel as though are going to have a lot of power. Someone asked a question early on -- you don’t have an organization that’s filled with just pitching prospects, you want position players, as well, and a lot of those position players, you’d like to have some guys who have some power and potential for power.”

On Jorge Posada’s role as special advisor to baseball operations: “Jorge has a long history with Gary [Denbo] with the Yankee organization, obviously, but I think he enjoys it.”

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