By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Southern League announced that seven Jacksonville Suns have been named to the league’s South Division squad for the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.
Pitchers Sean Donatello, Jake Esch, and Kendry Flores, along with catcher Sharif Othman, infielders Zack Cox and David Adams, along with outfielder Matt Juengel will represent the Suns on the South Division squad.
Donatello, currently on Jacksonville’s disabled list, leads the Southern League with 14 saves. He also is 0-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances. Donatello also leads the Southern League in appearances (24) and games finished (23). In April he was named the Southern League’s BC Powder Relief Pitcher of the Month after converting six saves during the season’s first month. This is the first All-Star selection of Donatello’s career. Donatello was selected by the Marlins in the 25th round of the 2011 draft out of UConn – Avery Point.
Esch is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts for Jacksonville this year in his first season pitching at the Double-A level. This is the first All-Star selection of Esch’s career. Esch was selected by the Marlins in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of Georgia Tech.
Flores is currently pitching in the major leagues with the Miami Marlins, but was dominant during his time with Jacksonville in the first half. Flores made nine starts for the Suns, going 3-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 56 and two-thirds innings of work. Also during that time, he struck out 46 batters compared to 15 walks. At the time of his promotion, Flores was third in the Southern League in ERA (2.06), first in WHIP (0.85), first in batting average against (.172), and among starting pitchers – fewest baserunners per nine innings (7.94). Flores was promoted to the Marlins on June 2, and this is the first All-Star selection of his career. Flores was acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the San Francisco Giants last December.
Othman has been the primary catcher all season for the Suns, and in 40 games is hitting .289 with a homer and 16 RBI. This is the first All-Star selection of Othman’s career. Othman was selected by the Marlins in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft out of California Baptist University.
Cox, who previously played with the Suns in 2012 and 2013, came back to Jacksonville this season and has consistently had one of the Southern League’s best batting averages. Cox is currently hitting .319, which is seventh-best in the league, to go along with his three home runs and 11 RBI. Cox also has the fifth-best on-base percentage at .403. While this is his first All-Star selection, Cox was a 2010 Arizona Fall League Rising Star selection. Cox, originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Arkansas, was acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the Cardinals in 2012.
Adams is in his first season in the Marlins organization, and after coming off the disabled list in late April is hitting .298 with two homers and 14 RBI for the Suns. Adams, who played in the major leagues with the New York Yankees in 2013, was previously named an Arizona Fall League Rising Star in 2012. Adams was signed by the Marlins as a free agent in January.
Juengel has led Jacksonville in power hitting all season, and he is currently hitting .273 with nine homers and 30 RBI in 53 games played for the Suns. His nine homers are tied for fourth-most in the league, and he also averages a home run every 21 at-bats, which is fifth best in the Southern League. Juengel was named on Monday as the Southern League Player of the Week for June 1-7. Over that week Juengel hit .391 (9-for-23) with six extra-base hits, 21 total bases, three doubles, three home runs and seven runs batted in. He also led the league with a .913 slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.353, and the six extra-base hits and three homers were also best in the Southern League. This is the second All-Star selection of Juengel’s career, after he was a 2014 Florida State League Midseason All-Star during his time with the Jupiter Hammerheads. Juengel was selected by the Marlins in the 24th round of the 2012 draft out of Texas A&M.
In addition to these players, the Jacksonville coaching staff of manager David Berg, hitting coach Rich Arena, and pitching coach Derek Botelho will lead the South Division All-Stars squad.
The players were selected by a vote of Southern League field managers, radio broadcasters, general managers and print media. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played on June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits at 8:20 p.m. ET. The league will announce the starting lineups for the North and South Division at a later date.
The Suns and Blue Wahoos will square off in the series finale Wednesday night from Pensacola Bayfront Stadium with a first pitch slated for 7:35 p.m. ET. Right-handed pitcher Scott Lyman will make his first 2015 start for the Suns, while the Wahoos will start right-hander Daniel Wright (2-4, 5.76 ERA).
Suns fans can also listen to Wednesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 100.3 FM & 600 AM “The Answer” or through http://www.jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com, or the TuneIn radio app, coverage will start the Memorial Hospital Suns Pregame Show beginning at 7:20 p.m. ET
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.