By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
MAJOR League Baseball is set to make its return and several Bahamian prospects have joined their team’s player pool in training camp for the shortened 2020 season.
As members of their team’s respective 40-man rosters, Jazz Chisholm of the Miami Marlins and Lucius Fox of the Tampa Bay Rays were named to each team’s player pool of up to 60 players that can be used throughout the season.
The 60 players will be invited to training camp and active rosters will include 30 players. After two weeks the roster will be reduced to 28 and after a period of two weeks, a final cut of 26 players.
The Marlins’ pool will participate in workouts both at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, and the alternate training site at the Miami Marlins Player Development Complex in Jupiter, Florida. The Rays will conduct workouts with one group at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida, and their alternate training site in Port Charlotte, Florida.
The 2020 MLB season will feature a shortened 60-game season played over 66 days. Players will report to training camp on July 1 and opening day will be hosted July 24.
The regular season is expected to conclude by late September and the playoffs will begin in October. A player must be on an official roster in order to be eligible for the playoff roster.
In addition to the shortened season, the MLB will feature several rule changes, most notably the use of the designated hitter in both leagues and beginning extra innings with a runner on second base.
Chisholm, the 22-year-old shortstop, was set to make his 2020 debut in AAA baseball with the Wichita Wind Surge of the Pacific Coast League and the AAA affiliate of the Marlins. The No.3 ranked prospect in the organisation was listed at No.66 overall among the top 100 Prospects by MLB Pipeline. He made nine spring training appearances and hit .308 with three RBI, one home run, scored four runs, with a 1.115 OPS and two stolen bases.
Last season, Chisholm was named the top defensive shortstop in the Double-A Southwest League and his advancement to Double-A baseball produced a Southern League All-Star selection after he led all the league’s shortstops with 21 home runs and 173 total bases.
Chisholm has continued to make strides for the organisation this season as he progresses toward the major leagues. He was among the top prospects from each Major League Baseball organisation represented at the Rookie Career Development Programme in Miami, Florida.
Each organisation sends their top prospects expected to reach the big leagues in the near future to sit through sessions aimed at easing their transition. Sessions included ones on media training, clubhouse relationships, drugs in baseball, inclusion and financial planning, and others. He was also present at the Marlins’ annual Fanfest which gave fans their first opportunity to interact with the 2020 roster.
Fox, 22, has been listed at shortstop for the duration of his career but saw time at centerfield, second and third during Spring Training. He is listed as an infielder/outfielder for the 2020 player pool.
He was also set to make his 2020 debut in AAA baseball with the Durham Bulls of the International League and the AAA affiliate of the Rays.
Fox is currently listed as the No.24 prospects in the Rays organisation.
“He’s maintained strong on-base skills as he’s climbed the ladder thanks to a penchant for walking and knows how to use his plus speed on the bases. After recording at least 25 steals in each of his first three seasons, Fox swiped a career-high 39 bags in 2019,” his MLB Pipeline analysis said, “One of the better athletes in Tampa Bay’s system, Fox is a rangy, above-average defensive shortstop with good hands and an above-average arm. That the Rays began to increase his versatility with reps at both second (13 games) and third base (nine) in 2019 suggests a potential bench role for Fox.”
Fox received league wide recognition and was awarded “Best Hustler” for his baserunning ability when the league announced its Postseason Awards.
He spent 15 games last season with the Bulls, but spent the bulk of the year with the Montgomery Biscuits in the Double A Southern League. He went on to lead the Southern League with 39 stolen bases. In 112 games this season across both leagues (104 with the Biscuits) Fox hit .221 with a .331 OBP and a .657 OPS. He totaled 90 hits including 16 doubles, nine triples, three home runs, 34 RBIs, and scored 66 runs.