The Marlins made the long-awaited starting pitcher-for-hitter trade this afternoon, sending pablo lopez to Minnesota as part of an agreement to Luis Arraez. Shortly after the trade was finalized, Miami general manager Kim Ng told reporters (including craig mish of SportsGrid) the newly acquired infielder would take over as the primary second baseman. all star Jazz Chisholm Jr. it will move from the cornerstone to the central field.
It’s an interesting tactic for Miami, which will indirectly address their uncertain mix of center field with today’s trade. Arraez has a lot of experience as a second baseman. He came out of the minor leagues at the position and has recorded more MLB starts there than at any other position. Over parts of four seasons, Arraez has spent just over 1,200 innings at the cornerstone.
Public defensive metrics have been mixed on their effectiveness. Defense Runs Saved rated him nine runs below average in just 390 innings there as a rookie in 2019. Over the three seasons since, DRS has listed him as a slightly better-than-average second baseman. Statcast has not been so optimistic. While he also feels he’s improved since a poor rookie run, an estimated -7 runs in 2019, has rated him just below par in two of the past three years.
Statcast has rated Arraez’s arm strength as slightly above average for the job. However, scouts have raised questions about his lateral quickness and athleticism since his days as a prospect. Minnesota pushed him mostly into first base work last season, starting him 31 times at cornerstone compared to 60 times at first base (with a handful of games at third also mixed in). Of course, the Minnesota firm of carlos correa solidified and secured shortstop Jorge Polanco he would play almost exclusively second base. The Twins were more comfortable with Polanco’s glove than Arraez’s in the middle, but they may have given the latter more time at second base if they hadn’t landed one of the best shortstops in the game.
It’s a surprise to see Miami take Chisholm out of the middle of the infield. The 24-year-old (25 next month) established himself as the organization’s No. 1 player with a .254/.325/.535 average in the first half before suffering a stress fracture in his back that ended with the season. He later also underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Signed as a shortstop prospect from the Bahamas, Chisholm has only played mid-infield as a pro. He’ll take over the outfield on the fly next season, with more than a month of spring training action to acclimatize to the new position.
With zero outfield experience, it’s impossible to know how Chisholm will take the different readings and angles he’ll need to learn as an outfielder. Miami clearly trusts him to polish up those aspects of his game quickly while relying on his elite athleticism in the interim. Chisholm has long been credited by scouts with extra speed, and Statcast ranked him in the 94th percentile in the league in that regard last season. He would have tied for 19th out of 74 center fielders in sprint speed, so he certainly shouldn’t have a problem covering the wide outfield at Marlins Park from that perspective.
Prospect evaluators also praised Chisholm for an above-average throwing arm. He hasn’t shown that at the MLB level, though it’s not fair to compare his throwing speeds as a second baseman to center fielders. Chisholm obviously had faster pitches and much shorter distances to throw to the right side of the infield than he did from center field.
It’s a gamble for the Fish, though, given the challenge of projecting how quickly he’ll develop the kind of reads needed to be a solid defensive center fielder. However, he is one Miami will take after losing their opportunities to directly upgrade the position from outside the organization. The free agent market at the position was mostly limited to deep players beyond brandon nimmo, cody bellinger Y kevin kiermaier. The trades only offered a few more obvious candidates, and the Pirates stuck to a massive asking price in Bryan Reynolds and even reports of a somewhat significant question from the Royals about a glove-first option as michael a. Taylor.
Rather than push things back with players like Jesus Sanchez, Bryan de la Cruz Y JJ Bleday – all of which are best suited to corner gardens – will hand things over to Chisholm. Their younger outfielders will compete for a spot in the opposite corner Avisail Garciawhile Arraez seems to be accompanied by joey wendle, Juan Segura Y garrett cooper in the primary infield.