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Earning Their Stripes: 5/4/21

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Arms and bats of the future were on full display for minor league opening night.

Lewin Díaz’s home run swing @JaxShrimp/Twitter

Before playing under the lights of major league baseball, prospects must run the gauntlet of the minor leagues.

For some, the transition is easy and neat. José Fernández needed only two seasons in the minors before winning the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year Award. Others may spend many years below baseball’s top level. In this series, we’ll be checking in on the Marlins minor league daily, and checking out the top performers.

May 4 was not only “Star Wars Day” this year—it was also minor league baseball’s opening day, their first in 25 months. The Miami Marlins had their top four affiliates scheduled to take the field, but the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos got rained out of their opener against the Mississippi Braves. That game will be made up as part of a scheduled seven-inning twin bill on Thursday night.

The Miami Marlins topped the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 9-3 final score. Their other three organizational contests shook out as follows.


Triple-A

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 11, Norfolk Tides 5

With 3,469 in attendance at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville, the Jumbo Shrimp jumped out to a seven-run second inning lead and never led by less than four for the rest of the game. Starter Braxton Garrett struck out four and surrendered two runs in a 3 23 inning start, while Brett Eibner got the victory with 2 13 perfect innings of work.

*pic courtesy of Bruce Lowthers

Lewin Díaz got things started with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning in his first plate appearance of the season. Jesús Sánchez also went deep on a three-run eighth-inning shot, on the heels of his second-inning two-RBI single. Eddy Alvarez and Luis Marté were the other Shrimp with multiple hits.

Shawn Morimando will get the start in the second game of the six-game set Wednesday at 1:05 EDT.

High-A

Beloit Snappers 1, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 2

Thomas Jones homered in the first inning, his first plate appearance of the season. The Snappers didn’t get another base hit until the ninth inning.

With 2,072 in the house at Fox Cities Stadium, Rattlers pitching held the Snappers to only two hits. Jones’ homer and a ninth-inning Conner Scott single. The rest of the team went a combined 0-for-20 from the plate, with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Beloit pitching did more than enough to hold up their end of the bargain. Zach McCambley struck out seven in four innings for his professional baseball debut. Alberto Guerrero and Josh Simpson followed with another seven strikeouts in four combined hitless innings. Unfortunately, McCambley also gave up two runs on four hits and a pair of walks, taking the loss.

Game Two of the set will air at 7:35 PM EDT tomorrow night. Beloit’s starting pitcher hasn’t yet been announced.

Single-A

Jupiter Hammerheads 3, St. Lucie Mets 13

With 1,286 in attendance, Eury Pérez started things out swimmingly enough, limiting St. Lucie to one run on four hits in three innings. He also whiffed four during his time on the hill.

With Pérez still dealing, Osiris Johnson opened the scoring in the top of the their inning with a two-run homer, also scoring J.D. Orr for a two-run Jupiter lead. That’s when the wheels came off for Hammerheads pitching.

Andrew Nardi came in to pitch the fourth, and ended up giving up seven hits and a walk for four runs, only retiring four batters in the process. Jackson Rose came on to relieve in the fifth, and struck out five in 2 13 innings while giving up three unearned runs. Justin Evans surrendered another five earned runs in only 1 13 frames to close things out.

A ninth-inning homer by promising third baseman Dalvy Rosario notwithstanding, Jupiter will have to wait until game two for another try at their first W of the season. They’ll get their chance Wednesday starting at 12:10 PM EDT.

Checking in with the Top 30

  1. Sixto Sánchez
  2. J.J. Bleday
  3. Max Meyer
  4. Edward Cabrera
  5. Lewin Díaz (JAX) 2-for-5, homer, three RBI
  6. Jesús Sánchez (JAX) 2-for-5, homer, five RBI
  7. Braxton Garrett (JAX) 3 23 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
  8. José Devers (MIA) 0-for-1
  9. Dax Fulton
  10. Nick Neidert
  11. Victor Mesa Jr.
  12. Peyton Burdick
  13. Nasim Nuñez (JUP) 0-for-4, 1 BB, 3 SO
  14. Monte Harrison
  15. Kameron Misner (BEL) 0-for-4, 1 SO
  16. Connor Scott (BEL) 1-for-4
  17. Kyle Nicolas
  18. Griffin Conine (BEL) 0-for-3, 3 K
  19. José Salas
  20. Yiddi Cappe
  21. Jerar Encarnación
  22. Jordan Holloway
  23. Zach McCambley (BEL) 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
  24. Jake Eder
  25. Eury Pérez
  26. Evan Fitterer
  27. Paul Campbell
  28. Will Banfield
  29. Jorge Guzman
  30. Osiris Johnson (JUP) 2-for-3, one homer, two RBI

Follow our new @FishProspects Twitter account for in-game updates throughout the MiLB season.