Pensacola adds minor league home run leader

The Blue Wahoos on Tuesday won outfielder Griffin Conine, minor league baseball’s top hitter and son of former Miami Marlins player Jeff Conine.

Griffin Conine, 24, who has made 23 home runs in 66 games this season for the Beloit, Wis. Snappers – the Marlins’ High-A branch – flew to Pensacola on Monday and joined his new teammates when they went to start a six-road series game on Tuesday against the Montgomery Biscuits.

The left-hander also leads all MILB players with 59 RBIs. His batting average of .247 is increased by a slugging percentage of .587. He became the No. 17 prospect in the Marlins’ minor league system.

Conine is a welcome addition to a Blue Wahoos roster that has struggled at home, especially in the last five games against the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Miami Marlins prospect Griffin Conine, who plays for Beloit against the Peoria Chiefs in the High-A Central league, pictured with his father, former MLB All-Star and "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine.

Conine’s father enjoyed a 17-year career in Major League Baseball, as a left fielder and first baseman, including two separate stints with the Marlins. The elder Conine became affectionately known as “Mr. Marlin” for her role in leading the club to their two World Series titles in 1997 and 2003.

He was also a two-time MLB All-Star, both with the Marlins.

Griffin has flourished this season as a powerful hitter, having been acquired by the Marlins on September 18, 2020 in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the Blue Jays’ 2018 second-round pick on Duke.

“It’s really cool to have this piece of history in my bloodlines,” Conine said, speaking to the Miami Herald in a post published before.

Tuesday move to the Blue Wahoos. “But as far as the pressure goes, I just go over there and play.

“That’s kind of all you can do,” Griffin told the Miami Herald. “I’m not that big on social media because there’s just a lot of negativity out there. But yeah, I think most of the pressure is created in my own head, right on myself. It’s a bit fair against me.

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“As far as anything about Mr. Marlin Jr. and so on, if I earn that name for real after all, then I’ll be happy.” For now, I go out and play.

Jeff Conine, 55, was part of the Marlins’ inaugural season in 1993 when the team played in the former Joe Robbie Stadium, now Hard Rock Stadium and home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.

Griffin, who was 6 when his father led the Marlins to their second World Series crown, was an outstanding player at Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale.

He was drafted in the 31st round by the Marlins in the 2015 draft, but opted for college with the Duke Blue Devils, where twice was named the All-ACC second team and was ranked No.11 by Baseball America among collegial hopes.

After the series with the Montgomery Biscuits, the branch of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Blue Wahoos will return home to open a homestand on July 27 against the Mississippi Braves.

Bill Vilona is a retired sports columnist for the Pensacola News Journal and current senior writer for Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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