Nasim Nunez knows it: he isn’t and has never been the biggest guy in any locker room he’s been a part of. But he also knows that he has had some of the highest potential of anyone he has played with, including his Marlins organizational mates. This spring, he is proving it.
Nunez, a Marlins’ second round pick out of high school in 2019. Miami gave Nunez $2.2 million to take him away from his commitment to attend Clemson University. At that time, Nunez was ranked the third best player in the state of Georgia and the fifth best shortstop in the country. Nunez earned such accolades due to a 6.28 sec 60-yard dash time which is considered elite and allotted him the ability to cover all ground necessary, silky smooth twitchy actions balanced by quick hands and easy transfers, and a 95 mph throwing arm. There was never been a doubt: Nasim Nunez was built to be a top-tier defensive shortstop. He’s reinforced that fact all throughout his minor league by continuing to show the range and the arm.
“He’s showcasing what he can do on the defensive end,” Skip Schumaker said. “He’s got one of the better arms in our system across the diamond. There’s no doubt he can play on the left side of the infield.”
At the plate, Nunez is an extremely patient hitter who is content working his way on base by any means necessary. From there, his elite speed allows him to turn anything into extra bases. Last season, his .384 OBP between A+ and AA ranked second in the organization amongst full season players. While Nunez worked favorable counts, what has lacked for him is the consistency of quality contact. This has been a huge catalyst for why his career batting average sits at .238. Late last season, against the most advanced competition he’s ever faced, Nunez started to come by a bit more barrels, allowing him to hit his first two career home runs. It has permeated into this spring where Nunez has continued to show improved offensive prowess in both his preparation and against live pitching.
Though Nunez has gotten just five at bats so far in games this spring he’s already reached exit velocities as high as 107 mph. Today, Nunez finally got into the game as a starter. He recorded two hits in three ABs. Schumaker has stated he has been pleasantly surprised with what Nunez has shown offensively.
“You don’t see much of him; you see him a bit in batting practice and stuff but he’s actually stronger than you think. He’s got wiry strength and I think he’s trending in the right direction. There’s a lot more in his offensive profile than what he’s shown.”
In coming by more frequent bat to ball, higher exit velos, and more overall thump beginning late last year, Nunez stated he believes he has always had the ability to do so and that it has been his education of the game and of education and knowledge of himself that has made the difference.
“I believe I’ve always been strong despite what everybody says about me being small,” Nunez said. “I believe I’m just learning how to hit now. Understanding who I am as a hitter, understanding what the pitchers are trying to do. Having an approach and plan and trusting my swing; understanding that I’m not going to always get my A swing off but that I still have to go up there and fight.”
What will continue to make the difference for Nunez as he polished off his development? Nunez summed it up in one word.
“Repetition,” Nunez said. “Repetition is everything. The more reps I get, the more I trust my swing. It’s just work, work, work and repetition.”
While Nunez is present in Marlins camp more so for experience and exposure to what it means, sees, and feels like to be a big leaguer, he’s giving the club a glimpse of what his ceiling could possibly be if he continues to advantageously develop in the minors.
“He’s asking the right questions, he runs the bases the right way, obviously,” Schumaker said. “I think he could be a really good two way player.”
Nunez will likely continue his development back at AA Pensacola to begin 2023.