Miami Marlins Minors: Jupiter Hammerheads Review

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 15: Outfielder Victor Mesa #32 of Cuba grounds out in the bottom of the third inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Five between Netherlands and Cuba at the Tokyo Dome on March 15, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 15: Outfielder Victor Mesa #32 of Cuba grounds out in the bottom of the third inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Five between Netherlands and Cuba at the Tokyo Dome on March 15, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images) /

The Miami Marlins minor league affiliate feeder system runs seven levels below the actual major league team.

Over the past few days, we’ve reviewed the highest and the lowest of those. Click here, here, or here for more on that. Today, we’re checking out one of the teams in the middle, the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

The Florida State League was originally founded in 1919, closed shop from 1929 through 1935, then opened up again in 1936, remaining open uninterrupted until the present day. They’ve been home to such disparate teams as the Bartow Polkers, the Leesburg Gondoliers, the Sanford Celeryfeds, the Ocala Yearlings, and from 1962-1970 and again from 1982-1988, even the first iteration of the Miami Marlins.

The Hammerheads have gone by that name for now-22 seasons. Prior to that, they were known as the West Palm Beach Expos (1969-1997), the West Palm Beach Braves (1965-1968), and the West Palm Beach Indians (1940-1956). The ballclub is currently managed by Todd Pratt, former major league catcher with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets, and the Atlanta Braves.

Players who open a season with the Hammerheads are generally from one-to-three years away from making a major league appearance. Current ranked prospects on the club include number two Victor Victor Mesa, number seven Braxton Garrett, number eight Edward Cabrera, number 13 Jordan Holloway, number 15 Trevor Rogers, number 20 James Nelson, and number 21 Will Stewart.

Currently at 19-41, the Hammerheads rank last in the FSL South and have the worst record in the entire league by a comfortable margin. With less-than 10 games remaining until first-half seeding, the Sharks can again start contending for a playoff spot when the second half commences. They’ve won two of their last seven ballgames.

June 3rd

Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies) 5, Hammerheads 4

Coming into the four-game series opener, the Hammerheads, at 17-36, were already eliminated from the first-half hunt. The Threshers, on the other hand at 29-27, were directly in the thick of things in the FSL North (they still have a shot, although they’re four games back with five games to go.

The Hammerheads outhit the Threshers, 10-to-8, although Clearwater scored where it counted. Jhonny Santos led the offense with two singles and a double, and Lazaro Alonso hit a single and a double as well. Nelson took Clearwater pitcher Kyle Arjona deep for his fourth homer of the season. Former first-round pick Rogers (1-6, 3.34) took the loss, giving up five runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight.

June 4th

Threshers 7, Hammerheads 6

Jupiter again outhit the Threshers by two hits while losing by a run, collecting nine hits to seven for Clearwater. Santos hit a single and a double with three RBI, while Nelson and Lazaro each hit two singles. The club drew three walks while striking out 13 times in the contest.

From the hill, former first-round pick Garrett struck out seven in six innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Joe Gunkel whiffed four over two perfect relief innings, and Alejandro Mateo (1-7, 4.94) took the loss by allowing three runs in 1/3 of an inning.

June 5th

Hammerheads 1, Threshers 0

Jupiter fought back on Wednesday for a hard-earned, two-hit combined shutout. Cabrera (5-2, 2.27) held Clearwater to one hit and struck out five over six innings. Josh Roeder whiffed two and gave up a hit in two innings, and Chad Smith earned the save with a perfect ninth.

The Hammerheads only needed one run, and they got it in the third inning on a Demetrius Sims solo blast. Nobody else on the team had a multi-base hit. Only Santos, Isael Soto, Alonzo, and Riley Mahan collected singles.

June 6th

Threshers 2, Hammerheads 1

Each team finished the series finale by collecting only four hits apiece. Nick Fortes hit his first round-tripper of the season for the only Jupiter run of the day. Santos and Nelson hit doubles, and Alonso’s single was the only other safe hit for the Sharks.

Stewart (1-6, 5.68) pitched well in the loss. He allowed both runs on four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out two batters and authoring twice as many groundouts (10) as fly outs (five). Sean Guenther pitched a perfect eighth in relief.

June 7th

Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins) 6, Hammerheads 2

Jupiter again outhit their opponent in a loss, eight-to-six in their three-game series opener against the Twins affiliate. Mahan led the Hammerheads offense with three hits, including a double. Recently reacquired catcher Angel Reyes hit a pair of singles, and Alonso pitched in with a double.

Jordan Holloway (2-3, 2.62) struck out five in as many innings, but also allowed three runs for the loss. Vincenzo Aiello whiffed two in two perfect innings of relief work.

June 8th

Miracle 4, Hammerheads 2

Nelson hit a single and a double, Soto hit two singles, and Reyes added an RBI-double to the Sharks hit total on Saturday, but Jupiter couldn’t hold a modest lead. Taylor Braley (0-4, 3.43) lost but got a Quality Start, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out one and allowed two home runs.

June 9th

Hammerheads 8, Miracle 0

Rogers (2-6, 3.02) struck out nine over six shutout innings, limiting the Miracle to only one hit and two walks. Mateo struck out four batters over two perfect innings, and Cason Sherrod struck out two in a non-save situation, loading the bases but keeping them off the board to preserve the shutout.

The Sharks collected 11 hits in total. Fortes went deep again, this time with an eighth-inning grand slam. Mesa, Sims, and Gunner Schubert each hit two singles in the game.

More from Marlins Prospects

Rated Prospect Watch

Mesa: three-for-13, two walks, one RBI, one strikeout.

Garrett: six IP, five H, four ER, one BB, seven SO

Cabrera: six IP, one H, zero ER, two BB, five SO

Holloway: five IP, three H, three ER, two BB, five SO

Rogers: 11.2 IP, seven H, three ER, three BB, 17 SO

Nelson: six-for-21, three walks, one RBI, six SO

Stewart: seven IP, four H, two ER, one BB, two SO

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