SUNS: Jacksonville Announces 2016 Opening Day Roster

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, announced the Opening Day roster for the 2016 season on Wednesday morning.

12 of the 25 players on the roster have spent time with Jacksonville before, including three members of a standout starting pitching rotation.

The Suns will feature three Baseball America Top 30 Miami Marlins prospects in the starting rotation. No. 3 prospect and left-handed pitcher Jarlin Garcia returns for his second year in a Suns uniform after going 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in seven starts with the Suns a season ago. 

No. 13 prospect and right-handed pitcher Jake Esch will be Jacksonville’s Opening Night starter, after he turned in a 2015 that earned him Southern League Midseason All-Star recognition, going 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 starts for the Suns last year. No. 14 prospect right-hander Austin Brice improved as 2015 went along, going 4-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 starts during the second half of the season.

The rotation is rounded out by left-handed pitcher Tim Berry and right-hander Ryan Newell. Berry is new to the Marlins system after spending the last six seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization. This is the first call-up to the Double-A level in Newell’s career.

The Suns bullpen will feature left-hander Jose Jose, who pitched in two games for the Suns last year. Right-handed relievers include Jacksonville returners Tyler Bremer, 2015 Southern League Midseason All-Star Sean Donatello, Tyler Higgins, and Scott Lyman. Newcomers to the Jacksonville bullpen include right-handers Victor Araujo, Patrick Johnson, and Tyler Kinley.

2015 Southern League Midseason All-Star Sharif Othman returns to the Suns for his third year of service in a Jacksonville uniform. He’ll share catching duties with Francisco Arcia, whom the Marlins signed as a free agent after he spent the past nine years catching in the New York Yankees organization.

The Suns infield features a familiar face at first base in Brady Shoemaker, who is the only position player on the roster that was a member of Jacksonville’s 2014 Southern League championship club. St. Augustine native and Marlins No. 23 prospect Avery Romero, a product of Pedro Menendez High School, will play second base. At shortstop will be Marlins No. 22 prospect J.T. Riddle, who hit .289 with five homers for the Suns in the second half of 2015.

2015 Southern League Midseason All-Star Matt Juengel, who played mostly outfield for Jacksonville last year, will shift to the infield for 2016 and play third base. The Suns also feature newcomers Peter Mooney and James Roberts in the infield, both playing at the Double-A level for the first time in their careers.

The outfield consists of all newcomers to Jacksonville. Marlins No. 7 prospect Austin Dean highlights the outfield along with Yefri Perez, Jeremias Pineda, and former major leaguer Moises Sierra.

Right-handed pitcher Matt Ramsey is the lone player on Jacksonville’s disabled list.

The Suns are led by manager David Berg, who returns for his second season as Jacksonville’s skipper. His coaching staff includes pitching coach John Duffy, hitting coach Rich Arena, and coach John Pachot. Athletic Trainer Cesar Roman returns for his third season with the Suns, with strength and conditioning coach Robert Reichert and video coordinator Keanan Lamb new to Jacksonville.

Jacksonville’s season begins tomorrow night against the Birmingham Barons at 7:05 p.m., starting a five-game series between the clubs at the Baseball Grounds. Right-handed starting pitcher Jake Esch (0-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the ball for the Suns against Barons right-hander Tyler Danish (0-0, 0.00 ERA).

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