Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Marlins last made the postseason in 2020, so clinching a spot in the playoffs on Saturday doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at the surface level.
That said, their last playoff appearance was during the COVID-shortened 60-game season. While they did go 31-29 that season, their Pythagorean win-loss record was 26-34. In all likelihood, if it was an entire 162-game season in 2020, the Marlins would’ve faded and probably missed a spot in the playoffs.
Before 2020, the last time the Marlins made the postseason was in 2003 when they won their second World Series title (and Miguel Cabrera was on the team as a 20-year-old rookie).
On Saturday night, the Marlins clinched a postseason berth despite a wonky week that included a game against the Mets getting suspended in the top of the 9th due to weather and field conditions.
And Jazz Chisholm Jr. was not just a big key for tonight’s playoff-clinching victory, but also throughout the 2023 season.
On Saturday against the Pirates, Chisholm had three hits and hit his 19th home run of the season. For the year, Chisholm hit .252 with a .767 OPS in 384 plate appearances and that included 52 RBI and 22 stolen bases. He has only played in 97 games due to injury, so one has to wonder what kind of production he could’ve finished with, had he stayed fully healthy (though that has been an issue for him the past couple of seasons).
Chisholm has been the embodiment of the Marlins’ surprising 2023 season.
In Spring Training, many wondered if Chisholm could handle the move from the infield to center field (much like fans wondered what the Marlins were doing by trading away Pablo López for Luis Arraez). When Chisholm went down with an injury and missed a considerable number of games, many wondered if injuries would plague him like talented, but oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi.
There were a lot of doubts about Chisholm (and the Marlins’ plan under GM Kim Ng). And yet, much like the Marlins in 2023, Chisholm continued to prove the naysayers wrong at exactly the right moments, with Saturday’s playoff-clinching victory in Pittsburgh proving to be the “cherry on top”.
The Marlins and Chisholm are returning to the postseason. This time, there isn’t an asterisk involved, as was the case back in 2020.
Let’s hope the 2023 postseason for Chisholm can perhaps be a launching pad for him much like 2003 was for Cabrera.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Francisco Alvarez (NYM): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, BB.
The Mets had a doubleheader against the Phillies on Saturday, and despite sitting out the first game, Alvarez had a day to remember. He hit two home runs and collected six RBI in the Mets’ 11-4 win. Alvarez’s average is paltry at .211, but he hit 25 home runs and collected 63 RBI in 421 plate appearances. That’s not bad for a rookie catcher, and he should be one to seriously watch in draft season, especially in two-catcher leagues.
Noelvi Marte (CIN): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Reds have an embarrassment of infield prospect riches, as Marte would be the face of most franchises thanks to his special toolset. Unfortunately, he plays on the same team as Elly De La Cruz. On Saturday, Marte collected four hits, including his third home run of the season. That improved his average to .318 and OPS to .825 in 119 plate appearances. De La Cruz will get all the attention in upcoming drafts, but fantasy managers shouldn’t sleep on Marte.
Matt Wallner (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
After an 18-game sample as a rookie in 2022, Wallner has really come onto the scene in 75 games as a sophomore this season. He is hitting .251 with a .885 OPS and has 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 252 plate appearances this year. He still strikes out a lot at 31% this season, but his power looks legit, as evidenced by his 18.8% barrel rate.
Marcell Ozuna (ATL): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Personally, it’s hard to like Ozuna considering his past history off the field. However, on the field this season, he’s been as good as ever. He’s hitting .271 with a .888 OPS and he has collected 38 home runs this year, with number 38 coming on Saturday against the Nationals. Ozuna had a big playoff series in 2020 against the Dodgers (against whom they fell short in the NLCS). Atlanta is hoping that Ozuna can channel that “postseason form” again this October.
Iván Herrera (STL): 2-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
The Cardinals ended the Reds’ postseason hopes with a 15-6 win at Busch Stadium, and Herrera was a main catalyst in St. Louis’ nine-run victory. Herrera hasn’t shown much home-run power yet in 24 games at the MLB level (which spans back to last season). He has zero home runs in 66 career MLB plate appearances. That said, he is slashing .297/.409/.351 with a .767 OPS this year in 44 plate appearances. Willson Contreras finished the year on the IL and received some grief for his performance in his first season in St. Louis. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Herrera ascend to a regular role behind the plate in 2024, should something happen to Contreras this offseason.
Brenton Doyle (COL): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, SB.
Doyle had a memorable game at the plate as he collected three RBI, his 21st stolen base, and hit his 10th home run of the year. As a baserunner and fielder, Doyle may be one of the most talented players in Colorado, with some additional upside to boot. At the plate though, it’s been rough, as he is hitting .203 with a .594 OPS in 427 plate appearances. This was Doyle’s rookie season, so some growing pains were to be expected. However, with Charlie Blackmon coming back for at least one more season, Doyle will need to show progress at the plate in 2024 to keep getting playing time.
Harold Ramírez (TB): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Much like many Rays hitters this year, Ramírez has had a stellar year that has gone a bit under the radar. While his 12 home runs in 429 plate appearances feel disappointing for a hitter with his natural power (40.1% hard-hit rate this year), he is hitting .311 with a .807 OPS. Ramírez is always a dilemma to roster in fantasy due to his lack of home runs and stolen bases. However, he will be key for this Rays roster in the postseason, as they hope to finally break through for a World Series win after coming up short the past few seasons.
Zack Gelof (OAK): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The A’s have been the worst club in baseball for most of the season, but at least they have a building block for the future in Gelof. The rookie out of the University of Virginia is hitting .272 with a .855 OPS in 295 plate appearances. In addition, he has shown some legitimate pop, as evidenced by his 11.3% barrel rate and 14 home runs, with his latest coming on Saturday against the Angels. Those who rostered Gelof in keeper or dynasty leagues have to be happy about Gelof’s outlook beyond this season, even if the A’s own outlook as a club is shaky.
Yan Gomes (CHC): 1-3, HR, R, 5 RBI, BB.
The Cubs were eliminated from the postseason on Saturday, disappointing since it seemed like baseball on the North Side had gotten fun again for reasons other than beer cup snakes in the Wrigley bleachers. Gomes did his best on Saturday to keep the dream alive with a home run and five RBI, but the Marlins’ win negated the positive impact of the Cubs’ 10-6 win over the Brewers. The Cubs will have some tough roster decisions to make this offseason, with Gomes, who has a club option for 2024, being one of them.
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)