Surprise Trade Sees Zac Gallen Head West for All That Jazz

MESA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 26: Jazz Chisholm #82 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by Steven Souza Jr. #28 after scoring against the Chicago Cubs during the spring training game at Sloan Park on February 26, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
MESA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 26: Jazz Chisholm #82 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by Steven Souza Jr. #28 after scoring against the Chicago Cubs during the spring training game at Sloan Park on February 26, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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Jazz Chisholm is the newest member of the Miami Marlins organization, but at what cost?

The Miami Marlins parted ways with promising starter Zac Gallen with the trade deadline bearing down on them. In return, the team acquired minor league prospect Jazz Chisholm off the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Chisholm is the Diamondbacks number one ranked prospect, although he’s completely untested at the major league level, and has struggled mightily at the double-A level this season. He’s slashed .204/.305/.427 in 89 games for the Jackson Generals, in the Southern League. In the short term, look for him to remain a SL prospect and join the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Gallen had started the season at the triple-A level with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. By the time he was called up to the majors, he led the PCL in every significant statistical pitching category. He was 9-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 14 starts, with 112 strikeouts and 18 walks over 91 1/3 innings. Opponents had a 0.712 WHIP and an opposing batting average of .153 over a not-small sample size.

Miami Marlins
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 24: Starting pitcher Zac Gallen #52 of the Miami Marlins delivers the ball in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 24, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

After joining the Miami Marlins, he started seven games and went 1-3 with a 2.76 ERA. Gallen struck out eight or more three times. Over his last two games, he allowed six hits and struck out 17 over 14 innings. He seems to be trending even better, which is what makes this move a particular head scratcher.

Chisholm is now halfway through his fourth minor league season after getting signed through international free agency in 2015 by Arizona. To start the 2019 campaign, he was ranked as the number 59 prospect by the MLB Pipeline, the number 61 overall by Baseball America, the number 69 overall prospect according to the Baseball Prospectus, and number 31 overall by FanGraphs. He fell off most of these lists as the current season has played out, and meanwhile, Gallen has risen on most of those same lists. Gallen is now ranked number 72 on the same list that Chisholm just fell off over at BA.

And maybe you disagree and think Jazz Chisholm is the second coming, and maybe you’re right (I hope so, I really do). Chisholm, still 21-years-old, is a 5’11”, 165 lb. shortstop from Nassau. Born on February 1st, 1998, Chisholm bats lefty and throws righty. Although he’s hit 18 home runs this season, with 44 RBI, he’s also struck out 123 times while drawing only 41 walks. That’s a 3:1 K/BB rate, and also a 33.8 percent strikeout rate – and that’s not even at the highest level of minor league baseball. Color me cautious – but please, Mr. Chisholm, prove me wrong here.

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