Hammerheads flourish in Arizona Fall League en route to title

(Joshua Tjiong/MiLB.com)

By Andrew Miller / Jupiter Hammerheads | October 28, 2019 5:08 PM

In total, the Miami Marlins sent seven of the organization's top prospects to the prestigious Arizona Fall League to compete against other top prospects from around the league. All seven of the rising-stars at one point or another donned a Jupiter Hammerheads jersey during the 2019 season. 

The Marlins prospects, along with talent from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays made up the roster of the Salt River Rafters, eventual Arizona Fall League Champions. 

Additionally, the Marlins were named winners of the inaugural AFL Organizational Leadership Award given annually to the "team that meets or exceeds their obligations to their four AFL team partners."

Here's how the talent performed under the Arizona sun:

OF Jerar Encarnacion:

Encarnacion displayed his power out in the Arizona heat tying for second with four home runs and also coming in second with 20 RBI. He finished the month with a respectable .271 (19/70) batting average in 20 total games. The outfielder capped his Arizona Fall League slate with a go-ahead grand slam in the Championship Game leading to a 5-1 victory. 

OF Victor Victor Mesa*

After his first full season of baseball stateside, Victor Victor Mesa kept up with the league's best prospects hitting .270 (20/74) and only striking out 12 times in 78 plate appearances, the fewest on the River Rafters with at least 12 games played. He recorded a hit in the championship game and appeared in 18 games. 

INF Jose Devers

Devers missed a large portion of the 2019 season due to injury but made an appearance in 12 Arizona Fall League games to make up for some missed mid-season at bats. Devers hit .282 (13/46) and played a big role in the championship victory recording two hits in four at bats.

LHP Alex Vesia*

Vesia literally could not had a better month in the highly-touted Arizona Fall League. The 23-year-old threw 11 ⅓ scoreless innings over 10 appearances, striking out 16 and holding opposing hitters to a .114 average. 

RHP Nick Neidert*

Aside from being named AFL pitcher of the week, Neidert got back into a rhythm in Arizona after missing most of the season due to an injury. In all, the right-handed pitcher was 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in 21 ⅔ innings pitched. His 0.83 WHIP was second-best among all starters with at least three games pitched and .205 batting average against ranking among the top-10. 

RHP Vincenzo Aiello

After a breakout 2019 campaign, the Staten Island, New York native showed flashes of brilliance in parts of nine appearances. The righty struck out 11 batters in 11 innings including some of the games top prospects including MLB Pipeline's No. 37 overall prospect Nolan Jones and top-10 organizational prospects Blake Rutherford, C.J. Chatham, among others. 

RHP C.J. Carter

After playing at three different levels in the 2019 season advancing all the way to Double-A Jacksonville, Carter made eight appearances in the Arizona Fall League throwing 11 total innings while striking out 12 and allowing just three walks.

*Denotes was named to Fall-Stars Game roster

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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