Jacksonville Sports Day

Four Suns Named S.L. All-Star Game Starters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Southern League announced that four Jacksonville Suns have been named to the league’s South Division starting lineup for the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Suns have more starters than any other South Division club, with Matt Juengel, Zack Cox, Sharif Othman, and Jake Esch all a part of South Division (and Suns) manager David Berg’s lineup.

Juengel will bat seventh and will be the designated hitter for the South Division. Juengel has led Jacksonville in power hitting all season, and he is currently hitting .277 with 10 homers and 33 RBI in 55 games played for the Suns. 

His 10 homers are tied for fourth-most in the league, and he also averages a home run every 20.0 at-bats, which is fourth 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.

Cox will bat eighth and play at third base for the South Division. 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 .312, 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 .400. 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.

Othman will round out the lineup by batting ninth and catching for the South Division. Othman has been the primary catcher all season for the Suns, and in 42 games is hitting .294 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.

And the starting pitcher for the South Division All-Stars will be Suns right-hander Jake Esch. 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.

Additionally, Jacksonville’s David Adams was replaced on the All-Star roster by Pensacola second baseman Ryan Wright, and Suns pitcher Kendry Flores, currently in the majors with the Miami Marlins, was replaced by Biloxi’s Jorge Lopez.

The 2015 All-Star Game will be played on June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits at 8:20 p.m. ET.

The Suns and Smokies will continue their series Friday night from Bragan Field with a first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out righty Jake Esch (4-3, 2.98 ERA) while the Smokies will counter with right-hander Frank Batista (6-1, 1.49 ERA).

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