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Arizona Fall League

Marlins receive top AFL organizational award

@JoeFrisaro
October 25, 2019

MIAMI -- A vastly improved Marlins farm system on Friday received more recognition. On the eve of the Arizona Fall League championship game, Miami was recognized as the inaugural winner of the AFL Organization Leadership Award. The award is presented to the “team that meets or exceeds their obligations to

MIAMI -- A vastly improved Marlins farm system on Friday received more recognition. On the eve of the Arizona Fall League championship game, Miami was recognized as the inaugural winner of the AFL Organization Leadership Award.

The award is presented to the “team that meets or exceeds their obligations to their four AFL team partners.”

Seven Marlins prospects are playing for the Salt River Rafters, who will play in Saturday’s AFL championship against the Surprise Saguaros, which can be viewed at 2 p.m. ET on MLB.com.

Arizona Fall League Championship Game preview

The Salt River club is managed by the Marlins’ Triple-A New Orleans manager, Keith Johnson, and Amanda Sartoris is the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

“This is an incredible honor to be recognized with this award, which is a credit to the team effort that many people in our organization contributed to, both on and off the field,” Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter said in a statement. “It serves as a testament to the first-class organization we are building here in Miami.”

Since the ownership group led by Bruce Sherman and Jeter took over the Marlins in October 2017, they’ve pledged to build the organization from the Minor Leagues up.

Marlins' Top 30 prospects

The Marlins have six players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, which is tied for the most of any club.

Ranked prospects representing the Marlins at the Arizona Fall League are infielder Jose Devers (Miami’s No. 10 prospect), right-hander Nick Neidert (No. 11) and outfielders Víctor Víctor Mesa (No. 13) and Jerar Encarnacion (No. 17).

Also on the Salt River squad are Marlins reliever prospects Vincenzo Aiello, C.J. Carter and Alex Vesia.

Neidert started in the Fall Stars Game, and he has a 1.25 ERA with 19 strikeouts and two walks in 21 2/3 innings in AFL play.

Encarnacion has improved his standing at the AFL, displaying immense power. He’s hitting .269 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .433 slugging percentage. Mesa is hitting .271.

“We appreciate MLB and the staff at the Arizona Fall League for their efforts to create a memorable experience for some of the top prospects in the game,” Jeter said. “Having our players face top talent and show personal growth is a very important part of their development.”

In October, Jeter was among the many club officials to personally attend games in Arizona. He was joined by president of baseball operations Michael Hill, vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo and Major League manager Don Mattingly.

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. also spent time in Arizona and was on hand to watch Neidert pitch in the Fall Stars Game.

Many other front office executives and scouts also spent time in Arizona, and the club also conducted organizational meetings.

The Rafters have players from the Marlins, Twins, D-backs, Rays and Rockies.

“Congratulations to all the members of the Rafters," Jeter said. "We wish them the best of luck in Saturday’s championship game."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.