The Hammerheads' team moniker heard throughout the dugout and clubhouse is "heads up, eyes out". Through some adversity and a pretty disappointing start to the year, the Sharks have stayed true to that ideology, staying positive and keeping their sights affixed on improving game by game. As a result, despite going 17-31 in their first 48 games, Jupiter now sits at 33-34, just one game under .500. Here's a look at the numbers behind this great run and the guys most responsible for it in this week's Sharks Recap.
- Since May 27, the Hammerheads have won 15 of their last 20, including 12 of their first 16 in June and eight of their last nine. Over that span, the club has started to find its collective power stroke. After barely slugging .300 in their first 48 games, the Sharks have slugged .371 in their last 20. The pitching has kept up its end as it continues to stifle opponents, tossing to the tune of a 2.74 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over their last 177.2 IP. Jupiter's seasonal ERA and WHIP continue to shrink as they inch their way closer to the top of the Florida State League. Their 3.20 ERA ranks fourth and their 1.22 WHIP ranks third.
- Over the last two weeks, the Hammerheads have been the beneficiaries of both the tutelage and experience of rehabbing Major Leaguers. Justin Bour, Justin Nicolino, Tom Koehler and Junichi Tazawa have all completed rehab assignments in Jupiter and Adeiny Hechavarria and Martin Prado are currently finishing theirs. For outfielder Kyle Barrett who is, believe it or not, riding another lengthy hit streak of seven games, marking his sixth 5+ game hit streak this year, and averaging .304, 9th in the FSL, getting the opportunity to play with Prado has been a childhood dream come true.
- Another Hammerhead that seemed to really hit it off with a current Marlin is John Silviano. Coming into play on June 12, Silviano was mired in a 2-21 slump, slashing .212/.300/.394. That night, Bour gave Silviano one of his MLB issued bats, a birch stick affixed with a Marlins' styled "41" on the knob and his name scrolled across the barrell. That night, Silviano went 2-5 with a grand slam and a three run homer with a career high 7 RBI, tying the franchise record for most in a single game. In the Hammerheads' first game back from the All-Star break, Silviano homered in a second straight effort. Since receiving the tangible as well as some intangible words of wisdom from Bour, Silviano is 4-13 with two homers and 8 RBI and his slugging percentage has risen from .394 to .455.
Silviano, a 13th round pick by the Blue Jays out of high school in 2012, has an interesting backstory. After being released by Toronto in 2014 after failing to hit over .200 in three rookie ball seasons, he went back to school in his native central Florida, first playing for the DeLand Suns where he had a solid .266/.439/.437 39-game season before being recruited to Lynn University in Boca Raton in 2016. There, Silviano really flashed his true potential. In 51 games for the Lynn Fighting Knights, the 21-year-old slashed .405/.528/.950, marks which ranked 4th, 2nd and 1st in his conference. His ridiculous 1.478 OPS led the conference. It came by way of a conference most 31 homers and 190 total bases. He also led the league in walks (51) and runs scored (70) and placed second in RBI (81). The near Triple Crown worthy season alerted the attention of the Marlins who signed him at the end of the collegiate season. He finished out that calendar year by hitting .212/.281/.449 for the Grasshoppers. This year, he's playing in his first full professional season at the highest level he's ever seen. While he was a complete threat at the college level, it has never exactly come full circle for Silviano at the professional level. But things are looking up. This season, he's spraying the ball around the field better than he ever has. He's learning how to go with pitches instead of trying to turn on everything. This is proven by his 47.3% pull percentage, 30.9 center percentage and 21.8 oppo percentage. He made pull contact over half of the time in each of his last three professional seasons. He's also advantageously lost some of the uppercut action to his swing, a habit which led to his stroke staying long and a lot of swings and misses. Where he sported a 20.8 line drive percentage, a 51% ground ball percentage due to getting on top of pitches and an 11.1 infield fly ball percentage due to lateness, all on top of 57 Ks last season, this year, the line drive percentage is up to 24.3, the ground ball percentage is down to 43.9, and the infield fly ball percentage is down to 5.9. His K% has gone from 33% to 24%. He's also been a lot more patient, walking at a 10.1% clip as opposed to under 8% last year.
As it is with a lot of power-first hitters, Roger Dean Stadium and the Florida State League haven't been kind to Silviano, proven by his .245 BABIP. Rather than looking at his seemingly dreadful .215 BA and .298 OBP, Silviano's weighted on base average (wOBA) of .339 and league and park adjusted runs per PA (wRC+) of 113, above league average, tell a much better story of how Silviano is on his way to becoming a complete threat at the pro level this season. This isn't to say Silviano still has some hitches to work out but he's still just 22 and he's willing to learn. Though we haven't seen it a lot this year due to him DHing and focusing on fine-tuning his offensive game, Silviano is an above average catcher who sports athletic pop times and an above average arm which is clocked at 90+. Should he continue his hot hitting as his BA and OBP normalize, he could prove to be of extreme value at a historically limited offensive position.
- By way of a 2.17 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 81/12 K/BB first half marks which ranked 3rd, 1st and 3rd thus making him one of, if not the very best pitcher in the league, Trevor Richards was one of three Hammerheads invited to the FSL All-Star Game. Richards was one of few FSL South players not to actually get into the game. However, the 24-year-old will undoubtedly and gladly trade sitting that game out for what happened to him the next day: he received his call-up to AA. Richards made the flight to Jacksonville having allowed just one eared run and one walk in his last 17.1 IP and having recorded six quality starts in his last nine outings. A 6'2" 190 righty, Richards has always sort of flown under the radar, going undrafted in 2014 despite a great career at Drury University in which he struck out 230 batters, second most in school history and sported a 2.96 ERA, second lowest by a Drury Panther. He played two seasons in the independent leagues, posting a 3.30 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and a 132/47 K/BB befoe being signed by the Marlins in 2016.
A ground ball pitcher as proven by his 60.7 GB% with the Sharks this year, Richards commands the lower half of the zone better than anyone in the organization and looks a lot like Nicolino did on his way up. He has pinpoint control and command of all three of his pitches and will throw them to either side of the black. His best pitch is an 82-85 MPH changeup that he masks by throwing it with the same arm speed as the fastball and which hitters cannot pick up until it is fading at a 10 MPH rate 20 feet from the plate. He also mixes in a mid-70s breaking ball to keep hitters guessing. It's a distant third pitch which he will need to bring up into the zone a bit and gain a bit more confidence for to completely fill out but having just turned 24, he has some time to do so while for now, he lives mostly off his great fastball/changeup combo. If he gains a bit of a better feel and control of his breaking ball, there's nothing against the free and easy Richards who owns a fluid and very repeatable, comfortable delivery, becoming an effective 3-5 starter. Considering where this organization is regarding starting pitching, keep this name on your short list of future rotational options.
- On Wednesday, it was revealed that catcher Roy Morales has been suspended 80 games due to testing positive for a banned substance. In his first 30 Hammerheads games, Morales, 22, was slashing .288/.370/.356 almost exactly what he slashed in Greensboro last year (.288/.374/.341). He had walked more than he struck out, driven in 15, and made just 2 errors behind the plate. Known as a defensive guru who can get his 6'2" 195 frame in front of anything, great framing skills and a head for game calling on top of an improving for-average offensive skill set with room for more growth power wise as his body fills out, this is undoubtedly a huge blow for both Morales and the Marlins who lose their 18th best prospect. The optimistic outlook on the suspension is that Morales is no stranger to missing time. He successfully returned from a broken wrist despite having to repeat his senior year in high school. The same troublesome wrist cost him the last month of last season and kept him out of getting valuable time in the instructional league only to go on to have the season he is currently having. In short, there's still reason to be hopeful about Morales' future. He doesn’t turn 23 for two more months.
- 6/22-25 @ Palm Beach
- 6/27-29 vs Florida
- 6/30-7/3 @ Lakeland
- 7/4-6 @ Florida
- 7/8-10 vs Port St. Lucie
- 7/12-14 vs Palm Beach