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The relationship continues: Jacksonville and the Marlins through the years

Jacksonville has won three championships as an affiliate of the Marlins.
December 11, 2020

This story originally appeared on the Jumbo Shrimp's Shrimp & Grits blog on Medium. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp being invited to Triple-A is a lot like rekindling an old friendship; Jacksonville fielded a team at Minor League Baseball’s top level from 1962–68. The Jumbo Shrimp potentially continuing their affiliation with

This story originally appeared on the Jumbo Shrimp's Shrimp & Grits blog on Medium.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp being invited to Triple-A is a lot like rekindling an old friendship; Jacksonville fielded a team at Minor League Baseball’s top level from 1962–68.

The Jumbo Shrimp potentially continuing their affiliation with the Miami Marlins, which dates back to 2009, is slightly different; No, they aren’t quite the couple that has grown old together, like, say, the 53 years the Phillies have been affiliated with Double-A Reading. But since Jacksonville joined up with the Marlins 12 years ago, 15 Triple-A teams have changed affiliations at least once with an MLB parent club. It’s safe to say the Jacksonville-Marlins relationship has been going quite steadily over the years.

Jacksonville’s current run as an affiliate of the Marlins has seen several stars don either a Suns or Jumbo Shrimp uniform. The list includes outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (2009–10), Christian Yelich (2013) and Marcell Ozuna (2013), catcher _J.T. Realmuto (2013–14), infielder/outfielder _Brian Anderson (2016–17) and right-handers Luis Castillo (2016) and Sixto Sánchez (2019).

There have also been several notable All-Star caliber players who completed rehab assignments in Jacksonville, highlighted by right-hander José Fernández (2015) and infielders Rafael Furcal (2014) and Martín Prado (2017, 2019).

Most interestingly, at least to me, the Marlins bookended (2009 & 2020) their Double-A affiliation with Jacksonville with winning seasons at the big league level. That being said, over that same timeframe, the teams the Marlins have placed in Northeast Florida have been quite good; Jacksonville has seen six teams with at least a .500 record since 2009, with three of the First Coast’s six Minor League Baseball championships coming in 2009, 2010 and 2014.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the affiliation between Jacksonville and Miami continuing is the future. The aforementioned 2020 Marlins just experienced a winning season and playoff berth for the first time in more than a decade. They are a franchise on the rise.

Meanwhile, Miami’s new ownership group, which purchased the team in September 2017, has acknowledged how critical the farm system is towards building sustainable success in the major leagues. That means more exciting young talent could be taking their final steps on their journey to The Show in Jacksonville; FanGraphs and MLB.com each recently Miami’s farm system fifth in baseball. In Keith Law’s rankings back in March on The Athletic, the Marlins placed in eighth.

There is so much to be excited about when it comes to the Marlins inviting the Jumbo Shrimp to be their Triple-A affiliate. It signifies the growth of Jacksonville off the field. And on the field, the Jumbo Shrimp and Marlins figure to continue to be perfect partners for each other.