Lightning-fast hands. Elite bat speed. Two more reasons Jazz is on path to stardom

Lightning-fast hands. Elite bat speed. Two more reasons Jazz is on path to stardom


Marlins rookie infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. is blessed with plenty of personality and talent on a baseball field. Included in his skillset is elite bat speed, which helps make him even more of a power threat

By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd

MIAMI — Jazz Chisholm Jr. grew up wanting to be like Ken Griffey Jr.

As a kid, Chisholm watched “The Kid” play as much as possible, admiring his talents, and copying the Hall of Famer’s swing.

“That was my guy,” Jazz said told Man On Second Baseball. “I always modeled my swing after him.”

So when Chisholm was about 11-years-old, and he was told he had “elite bat speed,” he knew it must be a compliment because that term also was used to describe Griffey.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Photo by Ken Griffey Jr. used to take BP with his cap flip backwards.

“I heard it on TV, and they mentioned it with Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds,” Chisholm said. “So, I had been hearing it on TV a lot. Elite bat speed. Lightning hands. I was just like, ‘That’s got to be a good thing.’ That’s what I always figured.”

Yes, it’s a good thing.

“Elite bat speed” and “lightning hands” are common phrases used by baseball insiders. It’s prominently noted in the evaluation process.

But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important? Simply put, players blessed with exceptional bat speed, can more easily catch up to high velocity. They also can react later to pitches, and still make solid contact. It also helps generate more power.

“It allows me to be a little more loose, and relaxed, and more comfortable in the box, instead of being rushed and trying to cheat on pitches,” Chisholm said. “It allows me to stay back, be selective, and see the ball better.”

Chisholm displayed that on Wednesday night with his three-run homer in the Marlins’ 7-3 loss to the Washington Nationals.

On the downside. Having a quick bat means it gets through the zone more quickly, which can lead to more swings and misses.

That’s why players with great bat speed need to trust their hands, and not try to do too much.

Chisholm is one of the exciting young stars in baseball, and the Miami Marlins rookie infielder spent some time talking bat speed and more with MO2 recently at loanDepot park.

Asked his immediate reaction to being told he has elite bat speed?

“I just think of Ken Griffey Jr, honestly,” Chisholm said. “Literally, all my life, I’ve watched videos, and watched him hit, and tried to mimic everything he did. Barry Bonds, and those guys. Lightning hands. That’s what I tried to do all of my life.

“I was around 11 or 12 when they started saying, ‘You’ve got some bat speed there, kid.’ “

Jazz Chisholm Jr. taking batting practice

Already this season, Chisholm has done the improbable of homering, not once, but twice off 100 mph pitches.

He did it against New York Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom, and Philadelphia Phillies lefty reliever, Jose Alvarado. The homer off deGrom came on a 100.4 mph fastball, and Alvarado’s sinker was 100.5 mph, according to Statcast.

It takes fast hands, and a quick bat to turn on pitches of that velocity.

“When you have hands like that, it allows you to do a lot of special things,” Chisholm said. “That’s one of those things, be calm against 100, instead of trying to rush and be out in front and cheat.”

Blessed with fast hands, it’s not surprising that Chisholm is skilled at jump roping. As a kid, he did some kick boxing for fun, and jumped rope.

Chisholm also has watched videos of boxer Floyd Mayweather jumping rope.

Floyd Mayweather

“I like jumping rope, and watching boxing guys do their thing,” Jazz said. “I always did it for fun. You’d probably be impressed.

“I watched Floyd Mayweather do it, and I got real interested in it. I just got into videos like that when I was younger, and it would help with exercising as well – stamina, speed.”

Chisholm has emerged as one of the fun, young players in the sport. He plays with plenty of personality and flare.

Full of confidence, he’s not bashful about admiring his home runs.

“You can ask any of my coaches,” Chisholm said. “I’ve probably pimped every home run I’ve ever hit.”

That’s going back a ways. Jazz recalls his first home run over an outfield wall occurring when he was 9-years-old.

“I remember my first home run,” he said. “Over the wall, at 9-years-old. I stood in the box.”

Three years later, Chisholm was on the 2010 Bahamas 12-under team that won the Cal Ripken World Series tournament in Wilson City, N.C.

Lucius Fox, Jazz Chisholm Jr. ( photo)

“I hit a homer about 100 feet over the wall, and stood in the box until it landed,” he said.

That Bahamian team was loaded. Their first three hitters were Lucius Fox, Chavez Young and Chisholm. All three are currently playing professional baseball. Fox is at Double-A in the Kansas City Royals system, and Young is at Double-A with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“We were the top three in the lineup, and all three are professional baseball players right now,” Chisholm said. “Pretty sick.”


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