In the 2022-2023 offseason, the Miami Marlins traded longtime shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Jacob Amaya. After having been drafted and developed by the prestigious Dodgers organization since 2017, Amaya had to adjust to new surroundings, but he tells Fish On First that the transition went smoothly.
“Not really too difficult,” said Amaya. “I think it was just an easy process. You know, came out of nowhere type thing. I found out through social media. So again, just spring training and getting to know the guys and how they are around other people and they talk to you and stuff like that…that kind of made the process easier.”
The Dodgers were consistent World Series contenders during Amaya’s time in their system, winning it all in 2020 and earning postseason berths in all other years as well. What did he take away from that environment and bring with him to the Marlins?
“Just how to go about everything,” said Amaya. “How to go about your business every day, what you need to do coming in when you get to the field, and what you need to do when the game is going on. So definitely a good org to be a part of. Thankful for my time there.”
A former 11th-round draft pick, Amaya earned his way onto the Dodgers 40-man roster after the 2021 season. Then in 2022, splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A, he slashed .261/.369/.427/.795 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs while spending almost all of his games at shortstop.
Amaya entered big league camp with the Marlins this year as a darkhorse candidate to crack the Opening Day roster, but he struggled in limited Grapefruit League action, slashing .053/.100/.053/.153 in nine games played. The slump continued after being optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville—in March/April, he slashed .211/.284/.311/.595 with two home runs and ten RBIs.
“I think I’m a slow starter myself,” said Amaya. The poor performance didn’t shake the 24-year-old’s confidence in himself.
Amaya rebounded with a phenomenal month of May, slashing .368/.443/.658/1.101 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. His hot streak included a home run on Sunday that traveled an estimated 447 feet. The combination of smooth defense and solid game power is extremely encouraging.
“Not really changing too much,” said Amaya. “For me, it was just timing. Just trying to get the timing down and then seeing the pitches coming at me and stuff like that.”
Another big part of Amaya’s game is his discipline at the plate. Despite a lower walk rate this season (10.0%), he is still striking out only 21.1% of the time, which is less than the International League average. He seems to be seeing the ball better against right-handed pitching than he was in 2022 as his platoon splits aren’t as pronounced.
When Miami acquired Amaya, he drew comparison to a younger Miguel Rojas with a better bat. That is exactly what we have seen from him in the month of May.
Joey Wendle has played poorly this season and is a pending free agent, while Jon Berti is versatile enough to play other defensive positions. Amaya’s upside is higher than theirs because of his power potential. If he can continue to do what he is doing at a consistent level, then the Marlins really need to call him up and find out whether he can be their long-term solution at shortstop.