Image credit: Nasim Nunez (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
SEATTLE—Entering the Futures Game, Marlins prospect Nasim Nuñez just wanted to enjoy the moment and the opportunity.
After a bases-clearing three-run double and a stolen base in the National League’s 5-0 victory, he also walked away with the Larry Doby Most Valuable Player award.
“No, (I wasn’t thinking about my future or playing in the big leagues] that’s why I looked at the dirt”, said Nuñez. “I want to remember where my feet are.
“MVP never crossed my mind until I got into the dugout and people started talking,” Nuñez said. “When I got up to the plate, it was just a regular at-bat. I worked on my breathing and my focus on-deck … and was ready to hit the ball.”
And for stealing the base … that was a bit more intentional.
“I really just wanted to jump in there,” Nuñez said with a smile after noting that other players swiped bags earlier in the game.
Nuñez is known for his 70-grade speed and defensive plays at shortstop, so to win the award for a big hit might come as a surprise to some. Not Nuñez. When asked about the play, he smiled, shook his head and said, “that’s baseball.”
Nuñez–who was drafted by the Marlins in the second round in 2019—admitted that he had his sights set on the Futures Game. After not being selected last season, he worked even harder, but not toward the same goal.
“Last year, I really wanted to come here pretty bad and I didn’t get selected,” Nuñez recalled. “This year, I said that I am not going to focus on it. I’m just going to focus on my game and work on my development. When my coaches told me I was coming here, I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ So, this is an honor. This is something I worked for. I enjoyed every moment.”
Nuñez cleared his throat and told reporters that his grandfather, Jose Nuñez, died a week and a half ago from lung and prostate cancer. He is the reason that the shortstop is a baseball player, as he put a ball and bat into his hands and always provided guidance. This game, and all games moving forward, Nuñez said, are dedicated to his grandfather, whose image adorned the cleats he wore in the game.
“My mom was here, (along with) my little brother, my girlfriend, my dad, her dad, family friends, my uncle and my grandpa. He just passed away, so he’s always with me now at the game.”