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The Jazz Man: Don’t sleep on Jasrado Chisholm

Mining for Prospects in the California League.

Peter Rogers Illustrations

In 2004, Google went public at just over $50 per share. At that time a 6-year-old Jasrado Chisholm was living in his native Nassau, Bahamas. By the end of 2012, Google surpassed $350 per share. When drafting or building a team, I like to think of players like stocks. There is a time to buy, there is a time to sell, and there are times to hold. Jasrado Chisholm, more affectionately known as “Jazz,” has seen his stock point on a steep upward slope over the last half a year. He’s about at that $350 per share mark, for reference. We don’t know if his stock price is artificially high or if it could soar to over $1,000 like Google has.

My philosophy with prospects is that their ceilings are far more important than their floors for fantasy purposes. Vladdy, Acuna, and Soto all have extremely high ceilings but also relatively high floors. That is why they are elite. There are also prospects that have a fairly high floor but a relatively low ceiling. Some examples are Dansby Swanson, Manuel Margot and Luis Urias. You’ll also see high ceiling and high floor prospects such as Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, and Yoan Moncada. I want the players who could be early round picks for years to come. That is why I target the high ceiling, riskier prospects like Jazz.

In Class A, Jazz managed a .248/.325/.358 line and .244/.311/.472 line across two separate partial seasons at age 19 and 20, respectively. Over 160 plate appearances at A+ in 2018, he turned it on, slashing .329/.369/.597. He hit 25 homers and stole 17 bases across two levels in 2018 in only 456 at bats.

Jazz did not meet the minimum qualified plate appearances in the Cal League to compare his ratios, so I sorted by 150 plate appearances or larger. Small sample size is the first strike against him.

It is hard to ignore that Jazz ranked seventh with a .268 ISO and 11th in wOBA clocking in at .415. If you look at slugging percentage, he was fourth overall ahead of Nate Lowe, Alex Kirilloff, Bobby Dalbec, Keston Hiura, Gavin Lux, and Jo Adell (ignoring minimum plate apperances). With respect to OPS, he only trailed Lowe among those players ranking seventh overall in that category.

407 players had 150 or more plate appearances across A+ ball in 2018. Your BABIP champion would have been Jazz Chisholm at .443. Strike Two. He ranks 26th worst in K% at 32.5%. Strike Three. No pun intended. He’s always hovered around a 30% strikeout rate for his career. For good measure, he also rated third overall with over 30% Home Run to Fly Ball rate.

So, why am I a Jazz fan?

A Deeper Dive into K%

His swinging strike rate of 14.7% and total strike to ball ratio of exactly 2:1 are below average, but do not reflect a K% quite as high as Jazz has shown. This tells me that there is opportunity within his current skill set to reduce the K%.

A Deeper Dive into his BABIP

When he did put the ball in play, his line drive % was 32.3%. This is absurd. This was tops in the entire level of the minors and indicates, along with his speed score of 7.8, that his high BABIP was not entirely luck. In fact, his improvement in batting average can be mainly attributed to hitting more line drives. One stat that stood out was the rate at which Jazz was using all fields. In particular, he was using the center of the diamond on a more consistent basis.

A Deeper Drive into his HR/FB ratio

Chisholm had a 12.1% infield fly ball rate, which is low. This will facilitate a higher HR/FB ratio. In Class A 2017, Jazz only hit one home run with a minuscule 3.6% HR/FB ratio. His line drive rate was still 23.5% which is good. This makes me question if there was a change in approach in 2018.

Arizona Fall League 2018

Jazz was on fire coming into the AFL, hitting .346 with six homers and 21 RBIs over the last 25 games of the season. As only a part-time player in the AFL, he hit .442/.489/.767 hitting three homers and stealing seven bases in 43 at-bats. By the way, he only struck out eight times, showing that improvement in plate discipline we were hoping for. Compare this to Peter Alonso who led the league in homers – Jazz paced for more home runs than Alonso who struck out 28.6% of the time. Keston Hiura was named the MVP of the AFL and, with a 70-grade hit tool, he hit .323 with five homers, seven steals, and 33 RBIs across 96 at-bats. Keston struck out 29.2% of the time. Jazz Chisholm only struck out 18.6% of the time this fall. If you extrapolate Chisholm’s stats (essentially double them) to a full-time player, he’s the MVP of the league and it’s not even close. He’d be joining the likes of the previous two MVPs, Gleyber Torres in 2016 and Ronald Acuna in 2017.

As you can see, Jazz does not have quiet hands but he has a lot of loft in his swing. Given the warnings signs in his peripherals, is it fair to conclude that Jazz can continue to improve en route to an MLB debut?

My assessment, from a fantasy perspective, is that Jazz Chisholm is extremely underrated heading into the 2019 calendar year based on his upside. He has accomplished everything to date before his 21st birthday. Ronald Acuna had a 31.7% strikeout rate in 2017 in Class A+ on his way to winning the AFL MVP that year. Acuna has thrived with a 25.3% strikeout ratio in the Majors and has never had a line drive rate of over 26.0% at any level. Jazz Chisholm’s upside is Alfonso Soriano in his prime, which is a fantasy monster. He is a middle infielder with superior athletic ability, a big swing, and a combination of speed and in-game power. His superior athletic ability should allow him to play a premium position throughout his prime. The question remains, despite his quick hands and wrists, how much contact he can make in the Majors with his current mechanics. I will continue to track Jazz in 2019 and his performance in Double-A to determine if I want to invest more into his stock. We have seen Acuna, Soto and Guerrero rocket up the minors, improving faster and performing better than we ever anticipated. This year, I’ll be paying close attention to Wander Franco and Jo Adell, much like everyone else. However, I’ll also be paying very close attention to a dark horse, Jazz Chisholm.

MLB Pipeline currently ranks Chisholm outside of the Top 100 prospects at the end of 2018. In fact, he fails to crack a number of notable Top 100 lists or lingers near the bottom in some cases. Because of my ceiling approach, I value Jazz inside the Top 50 ahead of such names typically ranked higher like Luis Urias, Travis Swaggerty, Ryan Mountcastle, and Justus Sheffield.