Miami Marlins budding superstar Jazz Chisholm Jr. is without question the face of the franchise down in South Florida, and this season his star-power is set to soar even higher.
Already the poster boy for this year’s MLB The Show 2023, the official video game of Major League Baseball, there was another announcement this offseason that could add even more cache to his name. Fresh off his first All-Star campaign as a second baseman, the Marlins announced that he will switch positions and man centerfield for Miami this season.
In his first game at the position, Jazz took the collar (0-for-4, 2 Ks) in a 5-3 Miami Marlins loss to the New York Mets on Opening Day. However, better days are surely ahead for the Marlins star with 161 games to go.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) February 1, 2023
Switch To Centerfield
Naturally, people immediately questioned the idea of moving someone who has played infield their entire lives to the outfield, but the idea to make the switch was actually made by Jazz himself.
“I mean it was really my decision,” said Chisholm during a media session in Miami. “So it wasn’t really a like time to be like, ‘oh I’m probably gonna go train because they’re gonna put me in the outfield.’ It was more like, ‘Ok imma go in the outfield because I want to win.”
This quote reminded me of what Jazz said when he spoke to me for MLBBro.com at the beginning of last season in regard to a different position change. As we all know, Chisholm came up as a shortstop and that was his preferred position, but the ‘Bahamian Blur ‘ was willing to switch positions in order to win.
“I just started playing second base when I got to the big leagues. I do have a preference of shortstop, but learning a new position ain’t bad.”
Jazz’s words turned out to be prophetic, as he adapts to another position in the pros in order to help the Marlins bring winning baseball back to Little Havana. He has already made it known that he plans to bring the same mentality that helped him turn heads at second to his new position, even predicting a Gold Glove.
“Like I remember last year when I went out there and I did my early work every day before games, I would always learn every field that I’ve been on. I feel like that helped me a lot defensively, so I just plan on doing that everyday again. Just going out there taking a couple steps on the warning track before the game, figure it out a little bit and then go and play.”
Moving from second base to centerfield alters the pantheon of MLBbros that Chisholm will enter, as some of the greatest Black players of all-time have manned the position. Names like Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Torii Hunter and Kenny Lofton; these are some legendary leather flashers he can look to for inspiration.
Hall of Famer Tim Raines Made The Switch
Now, the players we mentioned before had played the position their entire lives, but there is another OG MLBbro who not only made the switch from second base to outfield, but he also played the position well enough to make it all the way to Cooperstown. Montreal Expos great Tim Raines came up as a second baseman in their farm system before becoming an outfielder full time in 1985. Raines went on to become a seven-time All Star, Silver Slugger and two-time World Series Champion.
Chisholm still has work to do in order to accomplish the things that these greats have done, and the first step to that will be staying healthy the majority of the season. That was the one knock on his last season, as injuries allowed him to compete in only 60 games last season.
It’s so funny when I play 155 games this year the bandwagon gonna be so real and I don’t wanna hear it!! Your tweets have been bookmarked! #keepdoubting
— Jazz Chisholm Jr (@j_chisholm3) March 25, 2023
Jazz has made it clear that he hears the doubters and is ready to prove everyone wrong. That should be music to Marlins fans ears.