Class AA

Drama from the Bahamas with Jackson’s Chisholm

Jazz Chisholm, shortstop for the Jackson Generals in the Class AA Southern League, is the Arizona Diamondbacks’ top prospect and leads the league in home runs. (photo by Mike Morrow)

It’s not particularly encouraging when an organization’s No. 1 prospect is in a 3-for-41 slump. That’s the predicament Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jazz Chisholm found himself in last month.

So he’s making up for it.

Let’s just say he had a nice week. The Jackson Generals shortstop played so well the last few days he was named Monday the Southern League Player of the Week, and that’s to go with Baseball America naming him No. 7 in its 20 hottest prospects report Monday. And then there was naming Chisholm its shortstop on MLB Pipeline’s top prospect team of the week.

For the week, Chisholm hit four home runs — all in three games against the Tennessee Smokies — and led the league in total bases with 18. In his last 10 games, Chisholm is hitting .270 with nine runs scored and eight RBIs.

Those homers were significant, as Chisholm now leads the Southern League in home runs with nine.

But therein also lies one of the concerns about the 21-year-old Chisholm, who signed out of the Bahamas. Home runs are about it for him. It’s great power for a shortstop, and Chisholm does have some defensive dazzle. But he strikes out a lot, like a lot of power hitters, and as this year has proved he can stop hitting altogether. Yes, he is leading the league in home runs, but he has struck out 40 times out of 91 at-bats. He has picked up the pace on his batting average, but he is still hitting only .176 for the season.

And those nine home runs account for over half of his 16 hits. So there’s a lot for Chisolm to work on.

But there is also a lot for the Diamondbacks to work with, too.

MLB Pipeline has Chisholm ranked No. 57 among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Baseball America, like MLB Pipeline, ranks Chisholm as Arizona’s best prospect. The Pipeline also ranks Chisholm as No. 8 among all shortstop prospects, with No. 1 Fernando Tatis Jr. already playing in the big leagues.

Baseball America calls Chisholm a “high risk but high reward stock,” adding, “He has some rough edges to smooth over, but if it comes together he could be a shortstop with 20-homer, 20-steal potential.”

But he won’t get to the majors with a .176 batting average.

MLB Pipeline has good things to say, obviously, about his power.

“Chisholm posts impressive exit velocities from the left side of the plate with an explosive swing that has natural loft,” it said. “He showed in 2018 that he not only could tap into his plus raw power, but also apply it across the entire field, as some of Chisholm’s longest home runs were hit to straightaway center.”

Chisholm is one of two shortstop prospects from the Bahamas to sign in 2015. Lucius Fox was considered the better of the two and signed with the San Francisco Giants for $6 million. Chisholm signed for $200,000. Fox is now in the Tampa Bay Ray organization and playing in Montgomery, which is also in the Class AA Southern League. Fox is batting .202 with two home runs.

Chisholm suffered a torn right meniscus in 2017 and was limited to 29 games in Class A ball that year. He recovered and picked up with power numbers last season, hitting 25 home runs between Class A Visalia in the California League and Class A Kane County in the Midwest League.

His status will likely be judged by how well he cuts down on his strikeouts and by how many hits he collects that aren’t home runs.

But for now, we can certainly say he had a nice week.

Categories: Class AA

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