Generals' Chisholm busts out in a big way

Top D-backs prospect goes yard twice, drives in three runs

Jazz Chisholm hit 25 homers in 112 games across two levels last season. (David Rosenblum/Jackson Generals)

By Joe Bloss / | April 20, 2019 11:56 PM

There's more than one way to end a slump, but Jazz Chisholm might have found the most emphatic method on Saturday night.

The top D-backs prospect snapped out of a 3-for-41 funk by blasting two home runs and powering Double-A Jackson to a 5-1 victory over Birmingham at Regions Field. He also walked and drove in three runs.

It was Chisholm's third career multi-homer game and first since July 16 with Class A Kane County. 

Video: Jackson's Chisholm hits second homer

"A night like this is absolutely what I needed," he said.

Four of Chisholm's five hits this season have left the yard. The first one on Saturday led off the second inning, when he sent a 3-2 pitch from Barons starter Kodi Medeiros over the right field wall. He drew a free pass his next time up, then widened Jackson's lead with a two-run shot to right off Luis Martinez in the seventh that scored fourth-ranked D-backs prospect Daulton Varsho. ranks Chisholm as the game's No. 57 overall prospect, but the shortstop said his struggles to begin the year weren't the result of outside expectations.

Gameday box score

"My luck hasn't been as great this season," he said. "Every ball that I put in play are normally like line drive outs to the first baseman or the second baseman, and all the balls that happen to go down as the hit are either a homer or a double off the wall. I don't understand it."

Chisholm makes a list every spring of his statistical goals. Success last season -- 25 homers, six triples, 23 doubles, 17 stolen bases and an .842 OPS in 112 games between Kane County and Class A Advanced Visalia -- led the Bahamas native to bump up some of those numbers on his list.

Video: Jackson's Chisholm goes yard

He wanted to amass fewer than 100 strikeouts. He aimed to surpass 165 hits. At least 28 homers, 25 steals, 100 walks, 90 RBIs and a .330 average were all part of the season Chisholm envisioned.

But 11 games into Southern League play, he'd struck out 19 times and posted a .224 on-base percentage.

"I feel like I put a little bit of pressure on myself to start off the season hot and was not having as much fun as I normally have on the field," Chisholm said.

So the Generals found ways to remind themselves that they're "still kids." They play cards in the clubhouse: Casino, Pusoy and Pluck are a few games of choice, and Chisholm would consider himself a "great" talent at the table.

With a reduced focus on results and more emphasis on enjoying the game -- baseball, like cards, is a game, after all -- Chisholm on pushed his list into the back of his mind on Saturday.

"Honestly, just hit the ball," he said. "Just make sure you see the ball, hit the ball. [Generals reliever] Michael Kohn just told me, like Ted Williams said, 'See the ball, hit the ball.' That's all I did today."

2019 MiLB include

With Chisholm leading the way, the Generals provided plenty of support for a pitching staff that largely stifled the Barons. D-backs No. 17 prospect Pavin Smith contributed three hits and scored a run, bumping his average up to a season-high .244. 

Riley Smith (1-2) earned the win after giving up one run on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked none. Lucas Luetge, Ryan Atkinson and Kohn each tossed a scoreless frame, combining for five strikeouts while allowing one hit.

Medeiros (0-2) took the loss. The left-hander was reached for three runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out three over five frames.

Joe Bloss is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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