Not every player aims for home runs.
That’s the message from Xavier Edwards, the 23-year-old second baseman the Marlins acquired from the Rays on Nov. 15.
Edwards made it to Triple-A for the first time in 2022. Encouraged by the Rays to lift the ball more, he hit a career-high five homers. But the career .300 hitter over five pro seasons managed just a .246 average.
“I want to get back to my game,” said Edwards, who is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.
That game includes hitting from both sides of the plate, stealing 82 bases in 109 career attempts and providing defensive versatility. He has also plays shortstop and third base.
Edwards, who worked out with Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. following the 2021 season, will be challenged to crack a veteran Miami infield featuring Garrett Cooper at first base, Chisholm at second, Miguel Rojas at shortstop and either Jon Berti or Joey Wendle at third.
One thing for sure: Edwards will have a lot of locals rooting for him. He played his junior and senior seasons of high school in South Florida at North Broward Prep, with the Padres drafting him in the supplemental first round in 2018.
Edwards turned pro instead of playing for Vanderbilt, but he hasn’t forgotten about South Florida.
For the past five years, he has held the XE9 Baseball Camp at North Broward Prep. The two-day free camp drew more than 120 kids this December.
North Broward Prep coach Brian Campbell raves about Edwards.
“He’s an amazing leader, an incredible worker and the most special player I’ve ever coached,” Campbell said. “But I’m even more proud that he’s giving back to the community.”
Added Edwards: “I’ve been given a lot of opportunities. It’s important for me to try to grow the game, especially among African Americans.”