More news on the offseason front as teams across Major League Baseball have reconfigured their four-team minor league setup. For the Miami Marlins, they recently released their new look minor league system. The new list includes the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Beloit Snappers, and Jupiter Hammerheads. That’s without mentioning the Rookie League GCL Marlins, and International Rookie League DSL Marlins.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) December 9, 2020
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp: Triple-A
Out of all the Minor League affiliates for the Marlins, the Jumbo Shrimp of the Southern League is one of two that return for another year. They advance from being the franchises Double-A affiliate since 2009. The move also marks their first trip back to the Triple-A ranks since 1968 when they began that role 1962.
It continues to highlight what has been quite the baseball city that served as the very first Major League Baseball spring training back in 1888. Jacksonville has taken on a lot of names before resting on the Jumbo Shrimp, they’ve been called the Jets, Tars, and Braves. Jacksonville has been affiliated with several teams over the years including the Montreal Expos, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals.
The team, across many names and affiliations, has housed at one point some of the top players across history. Hank Aaron made a stop in Jacksonville the year before he hit the majors back in 1954. The team also housed Phil Niekro in 1960, Tom Seaver in 1966, and Nolan Ryan in 1967. When affiliated with the Expos, Jacksonville also had Randy Johnson in 1987 for a brief time.
Jacksonville officially changed its name from the Suns to the Jumbo Shrimp under the direction of the new ownership group of Fast Forward Sports Group. The initial season under the Jumbo Shrimp name, Jacksonville earned organization of the year and the league’s Executive of the Year by general manager Harold Claw. Jacksonville replaces New Orleans who had been with the Marlins since 2009. They also replace the Wichita Wind Surge who actually never played a game under Miami’s system due to the canceling of the 2020 MiLB season.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Double-A
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a team based out of Pensacola Florida from the Southern League, is the newest team to grace the Miami player development system. The team just came out of a two-year stint as being the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The team, co-owned by Masters champion Bubba Watson, began it’s MLB affiliated life under the Cincinnati Reds organization from 2012-2018. They now take on the Double-A affiliation for Miami.
The organization has also gone under several name changes including the Carolina Mudcats in 1989 which held through 2011. Interestingly enough, the Mudcats were part of Miami’s minor league setup from 2003-2008. Following 2011, the team was sold to a group in Amarillo Texas. At that time they were named the Amarillo Sox before the name changed not long after. The current name of the Blue Wahoos came about from a fan contest in connection with Wendy’s restaurant chain.
The team has accumulated some accolades along the way. In 2016, the team was named the Double-A winner of the Bob Freitas Award. That award is for the best overall franchise among the affiliates at the Double-A level.
Beloit Snappers: High-A
Based out Beloit Wisconsin and the Midwest League, the Snappers join on as the Single High-A affiliate of the Marlins. Miami becomes the fourth affiliated franchise for Beloit.
Previously they were with the Oakland Athletics from 2013-2020 and prior to that, the Minnesota Twins from 2005-2012. The team’s original ascension into MLB affiliation came in 1982 with the Milwaukee Brewers franchise which they stayed with until 2004. The original name from 1982-1994 was the Beloit Brewers. The name changed in 1995 to the Snappers based on a turtle-shaped mound on the campus of Beloit College.
There have also been big names that went through the Snappers team. That list has included Prince Fielder and Tony Gwynn Jr. Twenty-one MLB All-Stars have gone through their team. The team also housed Jim Morris at one point, the basis behind the movie The Rookie. Hall of Fame inductee and former Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor also suited up as a Snapper at one point.
Jupiter Hammerheads: Low-A
The longest-running minor league team within the Marlins’ ranks is the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Hammerheads were invited to continue their affiliation with the Marlins, a partnership that has been in place since 2002. While the team continues on with the Marlins, they will do so with a slight demotion. They held the High-A status since joining with the Marlins but going forward they will be the Low-A team.
The Hammerheads, unlike some minor league teams, haven’t bounced around very much. Prior to teaming up with Miami, they were with the Montreal Expos from 1969-2001. The team resides in the Florida State League and has gone through several name changes in its history. They’ve been previously known as the West Palm Beach Indians, Braves, Cardinals, and Expos.
The Hammerheads play their home games at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Miami’s Spring Training home.
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