Down on the Marlins' farm system, Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley have powered low Class A affiliate Greensboro to a 5-2 start. Meanwhile, Christian Yelich is temporarily sidelined with injury and the remaining Jupiter hitters have floundered in their new environment.
AAA: New Orleans Zephyrs
4/5 - W 6-2 vs. Nashville Sounds
4/6 - W 2-1 vs. Nashville Sounds
4/7 - W 4-2 vs. Nashville Sounds
4/8 - L 0-1 vs. Nashville Sounds
4/9 - W 5-3 vs. Memphis Redbirds
4/10 - W 2-0 vs. Memphis Redbirds
4/11 - W 2-0 vs. Memphis Redbirds
4/12 - W 3-2 vs. Memphis Redbirds
New Orleans has begun the season with a 7-1 record, the result of a string of fantastic pitching performances. Over eight games, New Orleans starters have allowed a total of just seven earned runs. This strong first week has come in spite of poor performances from a number of starting position players. The most successful Zephyrs position player has been first basemen Ben Lanaster, with an uninspiring .276/.290/.414 stat line.
AA: Jacksonville Suns
4/5 - W 2-0 vs. Huntsville Stars
4/6 - L 4-5 vs. Huntsville Stars
4/7 - L 1-3 vs. Huntsville Stars
4/8 - W 6-5 vs. Huntsville Stars
4/9 - W 7-4 vs. Huntsville Stars
4/10 - L 3-4 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts
4/11 - L 5-11 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts
4/12 - L 0-1 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts
Jacksonville took three of five against Huntsville, but the start of the new week has not been kind to the Suns, as Chattanooga swept the first three games of their series. The Suns have received decent hitting performances from older players such as Jake Smolinski, Paul Gran, and Curt Smith, whereas only real prospects, Kyle Jensen and Kyle Skipworth, have struggled in their first week.
A+: Jupiter Hammerheads
4/5 - No game scheduled
4/6 - W 7-3 @ Palm Beach Cardinals
4/7 - L 2-4 @ Palm Beach Cardinals, W 2-0 @ Palm Beach Cardinals
4/8 - No game scheduled
4/9 - L 1-3 @ Fort Myers Miracle
4/10 - L 2-3 @ Fort Myers Miracle
4/11 - L 5-6 @ Fort Myers Miracle
4/12 - L 0-4 @ Charlotte Stone Crabs
Christian Yelich is currently injured with a strained wrist after being struck by a pitch, but he is expected to return shortly.
Jupiter managed to score two runs Saturday against the Cardinals' star prospect Carlos Martinez, but the Hammerheads ultimately lost as Rob Rasmussen struggled to command his pitches, walking three and throwing two wild pitches. Grant Dayton was unfortunately credited with a loss in Monday's game, despite only allowing one run, striking out five, and walking no batters. The Hammerheads only averaged 2.7 runs per game in their first week of play, which leaves them in last place to begin the season. Improved play from Marcell Ozuna and the return of Christian Yelich will hopefully yield better results.
A-: Greensboro Grasshoppers
4/5 - Game postponed
4/6 - W 7-0 vs. Lexington Legends
4/7 - W 11-1 vs. Lexington Legends, L 5-3 versus Lexington Legends
4/8 - W 9-8 vs. Lexington Legends
4/9 - W 6-2 vs. Lakewood BlueClaws
4/10 - L 6-10 vs. Lakewood BlueClaws
4/11 - W 5-1 vs. Lakewood BlueClaws
4/12 - W 3-2 @ Delmarva Shorebirds
While New Orleans has relied on its starting pitching in their first week of play, Greensboro has benefited from strong all around play. Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, Jose Urena, and Josh Hodges have all delivered excellent starts for Greensboro. Shortstop Joshua Adams has been a one-man offense, hitting four home runs and two doubles in the first eight games.
1. Jose Fernandez, RHP
2 GS, 11.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 18 SO
Fernandez had a very impressive debut Saturday for Greensboro, striking out ten batters in just six innings pitched. He continued to dominate opponents Thursday against Delmarva, striking out eight batters in five shutout innings.
2. Adam Conley, LHP
2 GS, 11.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 15 SO
Conley is much older and more advanced than Jose Fernandez, so his strong start is less unexpected, but still very encouraging. Displaying good command, Conley cleaved through the Lexington and Lakewood lineups with ease. He has a superb 7.5 K/BB ratio so far this year.
3. Jacob Realmuto, C
.318/.464/.455 (7-for-22), 3 R, 1 HR, 5 BB, 3 SO, 2-for-3 SB
Perhaps the sole Marlins prospect to hit well this week, Realmuto is leading the Hammerheads in hits and walks. He even showcased his strong athleticism for a catcher by stealing two bases.
4. Joseph O'Gara, RHP
2 GS, 11.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 9 SO
Repeating Jacksonville to start the year, O'Gara will quickly need to prove himself capable of dominating Double-A competition, or else lose a possible future on the Marlins. These first two starts are an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old right hander. O'Gara leads Jacksonville starters in ERA and strikeouts.
5. Chris Hatcher, RHP
3 G, 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 SV, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 SO
Hatcher struggled in his major league debut with the Marlins last year, so he is spending the beginning of the season in New Orleans, working to refine his slider and changeup. In his first three outings this year, Hatcher has done quite well. He struck out four of six batters on Monday, including Memphis third basemen Zack Cox.
1. Kyle Skipworth, C
.167/.148/.167 (4-for-24), 1 R, 0 BB, 7 SO
Skipworth's start to the season has been truly awful. Without any walks and a sacrifice fly on his record, Skipworth's on-base percentage is actually lower than his batting average. His worst game came last Friday, where he had a hat trick, striking out three times in five hit-less at-bats and stranding four base-runners.
2. Noah Perio, 2B
.179/.207/.250 (5-for-28), 4 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 4 SO
Perio's early cold streak is likely attributable to a small sample size, especially considering his lack of strike outs. The Marlins have tried to get Perio to be more selective at the plate and walk more, but he only has one walk in the first week. If Perio has made any changes to his approach, they have not manifested in his performance.
3. Matt Dominguez, 3B
.172/.250/.276 (5-for-29), 2 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 5 SO
Despite his poor stat line, Dominguez's peripheral numbers suggest that he may be playing well and getting unlucky. Only striking out five times in thirty-two plate appearances, Dominguez has an abysmal .174 BABIP. It's far too early in the season to make any kind of judgment on Dominguez, but by any measure, his first week was not-so hot.
4. Austin Brice, RHP
1 GS, 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 SO
The new season did not begin as planned for young Austin Brice. In his first inning Tuesday against Lakewood, Brice allowed two walks, two singles, and a home run. Brice recovered to throw four innings, but he ended up allowing six runs, which Greensboro was unable to come back from.
5. Marcell Ozuna, OF
.179/.258/.393 (5-for-28), 4 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, 11 SO, 1-for-1 SB
Ozuna showed promise by hitting two home runs in the first week, but he struck out in 33 percent of plate appearances. It's still very early in the year, but Ozuna will have to show improvement in his contact ability as he moves up through the minors, otherwise he may find himself easily exploited by more talented pitching. At 21, Ozuna has plenty of time to work out any issues in his approach.