JUPITER, FL - The Miami Marlins have announced a tentative Opening Day roster for their Advanced-A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads. Miami's top prospect Christian Yelich will rejoin his skipper from last season after winning the 2011 South Atlantic League Championship under Andy Haines with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
In just his first full season of pro ball, Yelich finished in the top ten of numerous offensive categories in the SAL in 2011. His .312 batting average was good for third in the league. He belted 15 homers, had 77 RBI and scored 73 runs for the Grasshoppers.
Right behind Yelich on the prospect list ( #2) is fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna. His .353 average and three homers in seven playoff games ignited the Grasshoppers title run. Ozuna finished the 2011 season with 28 doubles and 23 home runs and 87 runs scored.
Along with manager Andy Haines, a total of 18 players will make the jump from low-A with the Grasshoppers to high-A with the Hammerheads.
Also included in that group is catcher J.T. Realmuto. Converted to a signal caller from shortstop, Realmuto collected 100 hits in 96 games with Greensboro last year. Regarded as the Marlins' catcher of the future, Realmuto is their top prospect behind the plate and #5 overall in the organization.
Noah Perio is the eighth ranked prospect in the Marlins' farm system and another member of Greensboro's championship squad. The left-handed hitting second baseman collected 30 doubles last season. His double-play partner up the middle, Danny Black will also begin 2012 in Jupiter. Black's 32 stolen bases with the Grasshoppers were tied for the team lead with Yelich.
A pair of left-handed pitchers will headline the Hammerheads' starting rotation as they return to Jupiter for the second consecutive year. #6 prospect Chad James and #7 Rob Rasmussen each had over 100 strikeouts for the Hammerheads last season.
Overall, the Hammerheads have seven returning players, a core group of Greensboro's championship team and six of the Marlins' top ten prospects headed to Jupiter to begin the season. The Hammerheads kick off their "Fins and Feathers" Series against the Palm Beach Cardinals on Friday, April 6 at Roger Dean Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.