Although Thursday was a Miami Marlins off-day, it wasn’t one for the minor leagues. With all full-season affiliates playing and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos making up for a rainout with a doubleheader, there are five games to recap, featuring many of the organization’s top prospects.
Starter Cade Gibson, who was a 2022 draft pick for the Marlins, made his season debut and had a nice outing. Gibson went four innings, striking out three, but gave up three hits, two runs, and walked three.
Offensively, the only Hammerheads player to have any success was Cody Morissette, who’s with Jupiter on a rehab assignment. He hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. The ball left the bat at 107.8 MPH and went 390 feet into the air (the hardest-hit ball of the game for either team).
Aside from the Cody Morissette homer, we didn’t see too much action from the Hammerheads offense. Only a hit from Jorge Caballero and Harrison Spohn. Jupiter drops the game to a final score of 9-1.
The Beloit Sky Carp are the team to watch in the Marlins farm system in 2023, and they lived up to the hype on Thursday.
The starter for this game was Evan Fitterer, who previously made the Opening Day start for Beloit. After a rough outing for Fitterer in that first appearance, he truly looked different and had one of the best starts of his professional career. In seven innings pitched, Fitterer struck out eight, only giving up three hits, and one run which was a homer late in the game.
Top hitting prospect Jacob Berry went 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Berry bumped his average up from .095 to .154. Berry has been the starting third baseman for the Sky Carp thus far.
Anybody want to see a great piece of hitting?— Beloit Sky Carp (@beloitskycarp) April 14, 2023
Jacob Berry goes oppo for a 2-RBI double. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/46qaF51enU
Yiddi Cappe, who received the promotion after playing half of last season in Jupiter, had himself a night. He went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. We are seeing Cappe having success in the cleanup spot for the Sky Carp early on this season.
Yiddi goes yard— Beloit Sky Carp (@beloitskycarp) April 14, 2023
Cappe's first homer of 2023 breaks the game open in the Bend! pic.twitter.com/E9OG0HquaG
First baseman Jake Thompson went 2-for-3 with a homer, an RBI, and a walk. The undrafted 25-year-old has been excelling early in his career, slashing .284/.392/.478/.870 as a minor leaguer entering the day.
Jake Thompson makes it BACK 2⃣ BACK in the 5th!— Beloit Sky Carp (@beloitskycarp) April 14, 2023
Thompson's second homer in three days makes it 8-0 Beloit. pic.twitter.com/igVhn1Q5Nm
Center fielder Dalvy Rosario was the other Sky Carp with a multi-hit game. He is serving as the team’s leadoff hitter in the absence of Kahlil Watson (ankle injury).
The Sky Carp ended up scoring nine runs against the South Bend Cubs. Evan Fitterer was awarded the win while Richard Gallardo gets the loss. If we had to choose an MVP for this game, the pick would be Fitterer who went very deep into this game and just shut down the Cubs until the very end.
It was a very nice outing for the Sky Carp. Everything was clicking for them. Even the slumping Joe Mack contributed by drawing a walk. Sky Carp are back at it on Friday at 7:05 pm against the same South Bend Cubs.
Dax Fulton went 5 2⁄3 innings, allowed eight hits, five runs, and struck out three. Fulton took the loss in game one of the doubleheader.
Offensively, we saw Nasim Nuñez show surprising power and hit a first-pitch solo homer to left field. Nasim only hit two homers in the regular season with High-A Beloit, but hit his first AA homer in the 2022 Southern League playoffs. If Nasim could develop some power, then he can be a solid big leaguer with his grade-A defense and crazy speed.
Victor Mesa Jr. had a nice season at High-A Beloit last season. Tonight, he showed why he is regarded as a true prospect and went 1-for-3 with a triple. Mesa Jr. not only provides nice defense in center field, but if he can hit for consistent contact and show some power in the middle to bottom of the order, then he can definitely put himself on track to be a future big league regular.
Troy Johnston hit a triple and was then driven in by Will Banfield. After losing 10 pounds in the offseason, Johnston mentioned at the team’s Media Day that he was confident in adding more extra-base hits and stolen bases without losing any power.
Banfield showed why he is the best defensive catcher in the organization, throwing out the runner who tried to steal second with a throw that was on the money. Banfield also had another hit following his RBI. Last season, Banfield had .707 OPS with the Wahoos. He’ll put himself under consideration for a Marlins call-up if he can repeat that over an extended sample size.
Game One Notes:
- Joe Rizzo and Griffin Conine both had an RBI
- Justin Evans allowed a solo homer in relief of Fulton
- Joe Rizzo and Will Banfield were the only two Pensacola players with a multi-hit game
Player of the game: Will Banfield
The Wahoos redeemed themselves from the loss earlier in the day with Zach King on the mound. Although he only gave up two hits and one run, he walked six hitters. King struck out six hitters.
On the offensive end, Cobie Fletcher Vance was the most productive hitter. With two RBI doubles, Vance led the Wahoos to a 6-2 victory.
CFV: The “C” is for Clutch pic.twitter.com/sQn2vdbu98— Pensacola Blue Wahoos (@BlueWahoosBBall) April 14, 2023
Nasim Nuñez also had a very nice second game as he had an RBI single to drive in Dane Myers.
Game Two Notes:
- Jose Devers, Joe Rizzo, Victor Mesa Jr., and Paul McIntosh all had an RBI in tonight’s game
- Aside from Cobie Fletcher-Vance, Joe Rizzo also had a multi-hit game.
- The Wahoos pitching staff had a combined eight strikeouts.
Although he is unknown to the casual fan, starter for the Jumbo Shrimp Jake Walters had a very nice outing. Walters went 4 2⁄3 innings, struck out two, walked three, and only allowed two runs.
Thursday’s lone Jacksonville home run was brought to you by Jerar Encarnacion. He hit a three-run shot to right-center field, leaving the bat at 113.3 MPH and going 364 feet into the air. He already has 15 RBI in only 10 games played this season.
Jacob Amaya, the player acquired in the Miguel Rojas trade, has been struggling this season big time. However, he found some success on Thursday and hit an RBI double and a single. Amaya’s RBI was an oppo shot to right field, which left the bat at 98 MPH.
Xavier Edwards continues to have success with the Jumbo Shrimp. Offensively, Edwards had three hits and a walk. Something to note is that he is playing center field. That defensive versatility should accelerate his journey to the big leagues, perhaps by the second half of 2023. With his speed, it makes sense to as why Edwards is experimenting with this position.
The top overall performer in Jacksonville right now is Peyton Burdick, who already has six homers this season. Although he didn’t add to that total, he did have a multi-hit game and an RBI. Burdick is the first player that should receive the call-up if someone in the outfield is injured or is heavily underperforming.
- Charles Leblanc had a multi-hit game
- Both Robert Garcia and Dylan Bice did not allow a run, but each did allow a hit. Garcia had a strikeout.
- Player of the game: Xavier Edwards