Class-A Advanced: 2017 Florida State League Preview
On Thursday April 6, the Florida State League season will begin a new year of exciting Class-A Advanced minor league baseball. In 2016, the Bradenton Marauders won their first FSL title, and this season the rest of the 11 teams will be gearing up to dethrone the champs. Who will it be?, and what future stars will shine the brightest in 2017?
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE NORTH
Clearwater Threshers – Philadelphia Phillies Affiliate
The Threshers had the best record overall in their division in 2016, but finished in second place both halves, narrowly missing the playoffs. This year they look to get over the hump and secure a spot.
Home Stadium: Spectrum Field
2016 Record: 39-29 (1st half), 43-25 (2nd half), 82-54 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Dunedin Blue Jays
Tampa Yankees – New York Yankees Affiliate
The Yankees won their division in the first half which gave them a nod on the post season. They won their semi-final series against the Dunedin Blue Jays, but lost in the finals to the Marauders.
Home Stadium: George M. Steinbrenner Field
Yankees Top Prospects on Roster: #6 James Kaprielian-RHP (DL), #13 Jordan Montgomery-LHP, #14 Domingo Acevedo-RHP, #20 Nick Solak-2B, #21 Ian Clarkin-LHP, #22 Chad Green-RHP, #23 Zack Littell-RHP, #25 Kyle Holder-SS, #30 Taylor Widener-RHP
2016 Record: 42-27 (1st half – Division Winner), 35-31 (2nd half), 77-58 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Lakeland Flying Tigers
Dunedin Blue Jays – Toronto Blue Jays Affiliate
Dunedin has been an affiliate of Toronto since 1987 and has played in their current stadium since 1990. They have yet to win a FSL Championship. In 2016, they won the second half title, but lost in the semi-finals to the Tampa Yankees.
Home Stadium: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
2016 Record: 33-36 (1st half), 43-23 (2nd half – Division Winner), 76-59 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Clearwater Threshers
Daytona Tortugas – Cincinnati Reds Affiliate
The Tortugas were affiliates of the Chicago Cubs from 1993-2014, before becoming the Reds affiliate in 2015. They have are a 6-time FSL Champ, last winning in 2013.
Home Stadium: Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark
2016 Record: 36-33 (1st half), 40-28 (2nd half), 76-61 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th @ Florida Fire Frogs
Lakeland Flying Tigers – Detroit Tigers Affiliate
The Flying Tigers have been in the Florida State League since 1960 and an affiliate of Detroit since 1963. They are a 4-time FSL champion, last winning in 2012.
Home Stadium: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
Tigers Top Prospects on Roster:#3 Beau Burrows-RHP, #11 Sandy Baez-RHP, #12 Jose Azocar-OF, #14 Gerson Moreno-RHP, #15 Spencer Turnbull-RHP, #17 Drew Smith-RHP, #18 Arvicent Perez-C, #19 Matt Hall-LHP, #20 Mark Ecker-RHP, #21 Jairo Labourt-LHP, #22 Zac Shepherd-IF
2016 Record: 34-34 (1st half), 26-38 (2nd half), 60-72 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th @ Tampa Yankees
Florida Fire Frogs – Atlanta Braves Affiliate
This will be the first season for the Fire Frogs. In 2016, the Brevard County Manatees, former affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers held their spot in the North Division, but the team left for Kississmee, Florida and now the Fire Frogs have taken over and will be the new affiliate of the Braves.
Home Stadium: Osceola County Stadium
Braves Top Prospects on Roster: #7 Ronald Acuna-OF, #10 Luiz Gohara-LHP, #11 Touki Toussaint-RHP, #12 Austin Riley-IF, #19 Ricardo Sanchez-LHP, #23 Alex Jackson-C/OF, #25 Drew Harrington-LHP, #28 Braxton Davidson-OF
2016 Record: N/A
Opening Night: April 6th v. Daytona Tortugas
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE SOUTH
St. Lucie Mets – New York Mets Affiliate
St. Lucie has been in the FSL and affiliates of New York since 1988. They are 5-time FSL champs and last won a league title in 2006 and division title in 2016.
Home Stadium: First Data Field
2016 Record: 35-32 (1st half), 39-29 (2nd half – Division Champs), 74-61 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Palm Beach Cardinals
Bradenton Marauders – Pittsburgh Pirates Affiliate
The Marauders have been members of the FSL and also affiliates of the Pirates since their inception in 2010. Last season was a banner year for the Marauders as they won their first ever Florida State League Title. They were a playoff team in three other seasons, 2010, 2011, 2014.
Home Stadium: LECOM Park
2016 Record: 38-30 (1st half – Division Winners), 32-36 (2nd half), 70-66 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th @ Charlotte Stone Crabs
Fort Myers Miracle – Minnesota Twins Affiliate
The Miracle have been an affiliate of the Twins since 1992, winning one league title (2014) since, and three division titles (1995, 2008, 2014), four first half titles (2003, 2008, 2009, 2014) and four second half titles (1995, 2000, 2006, 2009).
Home Stadium: Hammond Stadium
2016 Record: 34-35 (1st half), 36-33 (2nd half), 70-68 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th @ Jupiter Hammerheads
Jupiter Hammerheads – Miami Marlins Affiliate
The Hammerheads have been an affiliate of the Marlins since 2002 and won a Division title in 2012. They were previous affiliates of the Montreal Expos from 1969 – 2001.
Home Stadium: Roger Dean Stadium
2016 Record: 31-37 (1st half), 37-32 (2nd half), 68-69 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Fort Myers Miracle
Charlotte Stone Crabs – Tampa Bay Rays Affiliate
The Stone Crabs have been in the Florida State League since 1980, but became affiliates of the Rays in 2007. Since then they have won one League title (2015), and four Division titles (2009, 2010, 2013, 2015).
Home Stadium: Charlotte Sports Park
2016 Record: 33-36 (1st half), 31-35 (2nd half), 64-71 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th v. Bradenton Marauders
Palm Beach Cardinals – St. Louis Cardinals Affiliate
The PB Cardinals became affiliates of the parent club and members of the FSL in 2003. They won one League title and Division Title in 2005. They were playoff teams also in 2006, 2008, and 2015.
Home Stadium: Roger Dean Stadium
2016 Record: 32-36 (1st half), 26-43 (2nd half), 58-79 (overall)
Opening Night: April 6th @ St. Lucie Mets
SOME PHOTOS FROM THE 2016 FSL SEASON