After getting off to a 2-9 start, a tenure that ended with them playing two doubleheaders in four days, a rainbow appeared over Abacoa and Roger Dean Stadium. Since then, things have been much brighter both in Jupiter and for the Jupiter Hammerheads. After ending the home stand with a series win against Bradenton, the Sharks took to the road where they have won five in a row and are threatening to climb out of the Florida State League South cellar.
- The Hammerheads have continued to do a great job pitching in Roger Dean Stadium and the overall pitcher-friendly Florida State League. During this two week span, the Sharks posted a 3.53 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 126 strikeouts. While guys like Trevor Richards and Cody Poteet deserve a lot of the credit, don't discount the bullpen. During this two week span, Jupiter relievers have combined for a 3.08 ERA and 61 strikeouts.
- Unfortunately, the Hammerheads have also played to big FSL parks on the other side of the ball, too. As a team, they have hit just 23 home runs (just five more than MLB leader Aaron Judge), 79 doubles and nine triples, all of which rank second-to-last in the league. Their meager 202 runs scored ranks third worst in the league and the team's leader in slugging percentage is Brian Schales at .394, not even good enough for top-30 on the circuit.
- The Hammerheads were part of a strange incident May 20 in Port Charlotte when catcher Roy Morales went back to catch a foul popup and bumped into the protective screen behind home plate. The screen completely fell over onto the field, causing the game to be suspended until the next day. That Sunday, the Hammerheads completed both that game and the game prior to it which was also suspended due to rain. Sunday's original game was canceled.
Something is missing... "Way to go, now we can't play no more" pic.twitter.com/UIT4Zha1Ja— Dustin Geiger (@D_Geiger) May 20, 2017
- Two more weeks gone and here we are again talking about another Kyle Barrett hit streak. This time, it's nine games and counting. He was on base in 14 of 16 games in this two week span and has been on in 44 of 49 overall. By swiping eight bags over this two week time frame, Barrett now has a team-high 11 steals. Barrett was somehow snubbed from original All-Star selections despite hitting .303, good for 10th in the FSL and at least 20 points better than all four of those who got selected, but due to injury to the St. Lucie Mets' Jeff Diehl, he will participate in the festivities in Lakeland on June 17.
I don't think I'll never get tired of watching this kid play baseball. He just flat out finds ways to get it done. His fantastic plate vision and pitch recognition coupled with snappy bat speed and a bountiful baseball IQ allow him to succeed in any situation, whether it be attacking the first pitch, grinding out at-bats or bunting for a hit.
The very few holes Barrett had in his game after last year are starting to fill themselves in. He's turned his 6.4 percent walk rate from his days with the Grasshoppers into 8.1 percent and his 17 percent strikeout rate has shrunk to 13.2.
Barrett’s line-drive percentage is also way up from last year and he is doing absolutely everything that a great Major League leadoff hitter does. He's also playing solid defense at all three outfield spots, including right field — a spot he played for the first time in his career this past week. An extremely fun player to watch with a great head on his shoulders, Barrett should be getting his call to Jacksonville any day now. With continued success there, if the Marlins are sellers at the break, Barrett is a guy an out-of-contention team may give a well-deserved look. At the very least, he has already earned himself a spring training invite and a watchful eye from the Marlins' brass next season.
- Another Shark quickly swimming upstream is right-hander Trevor Richards. Richards is the owner of the FSL's ninth best ERA (2.41), its third best WHIP (0.97) and its most strikeouts (69). He has gone at least five innings in all but one of his outings and hasn't walked more than two on any occasion.
Coupling sinking heat with two plus secondary pitches, Richards has pinpoint control of each pitch. Getting ahead early and often, he limits pitches, conserves energy and works deep into starts with ease. When Richards is on, which he has been 90 percent of the time, there are no noticeable hitches to his game. The tell-tale sign for this righty will be if he can keep it up over the course of a full season's worth of starts. His 59.2 innings and 11 games played are already a career high. So far, so good though. At age 24 and with the Marlins in dire straits for starting pitching, he's on the fast track to the Show and should be another Shark turned Shrimp after the break.
Junior Arrojo, a Marlins' offseason signee and career independent league superstar (.293/.422/.382 in six seasons, including .341/.483/.486 last year), has had quite an interesting journey so far as a member of the organization. Originally assigned to the short season Muckdogs, Arrojo was sent to the Baby Cakes on May 8 for three games, then to the Shrimp for four games before winding up with the Hammerheads on May 22. Perhaps the Marlins were experimenting, trying to determine Arrojo's level of production, or perhaps the Marlins were a couple of flights away from their next frequent flyer miles bonus. Whatever the case, Arrojo is in Jupiter and he has been impressive, getting on base in each of his first eight games and hitting .281/.425/.313. A local graduate from Florida International where he had a .276/.384/.358 career, Arrojo is another top of the order grinder who works patient, professional at-bats and makes the most of his chances. This is proven by an on-base percentage over .400 in three of his last four seasons in the independent league, including last year when he led his conference with a ridiculous .483 marker in its second most plate appearances (452).
The best of his several plus attributes, Arrojo swiped 40 or more bases in each of his last two seasons with the Rockland Boulders, both times leading the league. He also stole at least 20 in each of his last two seasons at FIU. For his playing career, he has 227 steals in 272 attempts (83 percent success rate).
With a reputation for being nearly impossible to keep off base, speed that makes it equally hard for opponents to keep him out of scoring position and good instincts up the middle of the field, Arrojo was a nice find by the Fish. However, there is one big thing working against him: time. Arrojo just turned 29 this year. If the indy league's top prospect from this past year can continue to show that his skill set is transferable to affiliated ball, he will be back in the upper minors very soon and could find himself getting a tryout with a Marlins club looking for infield depth. Though it may not seem like it at the moment for the near-30-year-old Miami native who is playing in Single-A ball, for a guy who was making less than $2,000 a month to play while traveling between New York, New Jersey and Canada, the situation couldn't be more ideal.
- 5/3-5/6 @ Tampa
- 5/8-5/11 vs Clearwater
- 5/12-5/15 @ St. Lucie
- 5/19-5/21 vs Ft. Myers