Jazz Chisholm Jr. has elite bat speed. His 2021 home run off of Jacob deGrom’s high heater put him on the national baseball map, and he has followed that up with many other similar swings against top-end velocity. Pitchers with “nasty” stuff who are generally regarded as the best in the majors don’t intimidate him.
That being said, Chisholm is still an incomplete hitter. In 2023 and in his MLB career overall, he rates only slightly above average in terms of weighted runs created-plus. The damage he’s done against A-list arms is partially offset by his inability to take advantage of finesse pitchers.
Chisholm was interviewed on the newest episode of the Twin Talk podcast, hosted by social media influencers Haley and Hanna Cavinder. It’s a cringy listen, but just past the 30-minute mark, they asked him to identify the “hardest pitcher” he’s had to face. The Marlins center fielder went in a surprising direction with his response. He stopped short of dropping the pitcher’s name, so I had some fun “investigating” it.
“If you watch him pitch, he’s not good, but whatever he does gets everybody out,” Chisholm says. This mystery pitcher is on the Washington Nationals, he continues, who the Marlins played the day before the pod recording. He shouts out teammate Jorge Soler for being “the only person who hit” in that game.
Even though the episode was just uploaded this week, the above details strongly hint that the recording took place on August 28 (a Marlins off day). Soler blasted the game-deciding homer on the 27th to account for Miami’s only two runs. Right-hander Trevor Williams started that game for the Nats.
Chisholm goes on to describe the pitch mix of his nemesis: “88 mile-per-hour fastball, cool; he got a little 83 mile-per-hour changeup—that’s normal; curveball, 78. It’s all normal stuff.” Each of those numbers are almost identical to Williams’ season averages. Chisholm leaves yet another breadcrumb by saying he struck out in his first at-bat during the game in question. Here is that strikeout against a seemingly hittable fastball:
Most opponents have savored their matchups with Williams this season. He’s been sub-replacement level with a 5.55 ERA, 6.05 FIP and 1.57 WHIP while averaging less than five innings per start, hence Jazz’s frustration.
Including Grapefruit League spring training matchups, Chisholm is 1-for-13 lifetime against Williams with five strikeouts, the only hit being a lucky infield single (which happened the following week during a rematch in Washington).
The 2023 season series between the Marlins and Nats is over, but Williams is under contract for next season as well. Health permitting, Chisholm will have opportunities to solve this veteran righty.
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