Augusta, NJ – The 2019 Can-Am League Regular Season Champion Sussex County Miners announce the acquisition of right-handed pitcher and outfielder Michael Hope, left-handed pitcher Aaron Ford and infielder Jake Vieth from the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (American Association) in exchange for infielder Trey Hair.
“We received a good haul including a couple of pitchers I’ve eyed over the last year or so and a good power bat to the lineup,” Sussex County manager Bobby Jones said. “Hope is a very competitive kid who throws lots of strikes, has a really good breaking ball and someone I see being a setup man. Jake is a sure-handed guy around the bag at first who has power. And Aaron Ford is a talented guy coming out of the Mets system who’s got pretty good numbers and really good stuff. He can get to the mid-90s from the left side and I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table.”
Hope played his first professional season last year with Fargo-Moorhead, where he posted good numbers. Michael went 8-0 in 31 relief appearances for the RedHawks, posting a 3.47 ERA in the process. Curiously, Hope also went 3 for 7 at the plate for Fargo-Moorhead, with 1 HR and 4 RBI. The 23-year-old righty played for four years at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania before joining the RedHawks, where he put up a 6-4 record with a 3.86 ERA and an impressive 74 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings, for an eye-catching 11.4 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) ratio. Prior to his senior season at the Ship, the Camp Hill, PA native had played in the summer of 2018 for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders in the collegiate wood-bat Northwoods League, where he had a 4-1 record and a 2.45 ERA in 19 appearances, with an equally impressive 9.5 K/9 ratio. Hope posted a K/9 ratio of 9 or above through his collegiate career.
Ford comes to Sussex County from the New York Mets organization, where he went 2-2 with a 2.02 ERA for the Columbia Fireflies of the South Atlantic League (Single-A) in 2018. Originally from Houston, TX, the 25-year old left-handed reliever made 19 appearances for the Fireflies in 2018, and in the 26 2/3 innings he pitched, Aaron struck out 32 batters while walking just 2, and posted a 1.088 WHIP. In his career, Ford has not had a K/9 ratio that dipped into single digits, averaging 12.3 strikeouts per 9 innings as a professional. The Mets drafted Ford in the 21st round of the 2017 First Year Player Draft out of Tennessee Wesleyan University.
Vieth comes to Sussex County from Fargo-Moorhead by way of Lake Erie last season. The 24-year old first baseman had a slash line of .254/.365/.486 in 87 games with the Crushers last season, pounding out 18 HRs and knocking in 57 RBIs. Along with tying for first in homers, Vieth also ranked second in the Frontier League in hit by pitches (19). A product of Stadium HS in Tacoma, WA, Jake played his final two years of collegiate ball at Gonzaga University, where he was 3rd on the team in batting with a .302 average, led the squad with 10 HRs, as well as slugging percentage at .505 and on-base percentage at .429 in his senior season of 2018.
“Trey was a blessing. We wouldn’t have gotten to where we did last year without him. He’s a dirty uniform, play hard kind of guy,” Jones said. “He gave good at-bats and showed up every day. It’s tough to lose a guy like that and he’s a big part of what we did [last year].”
Hair was one of Sussex County’s most electric players in 2019. Batting .324 with eight homers and 62 RBIs, the 24-year old Hickman, Nebraska native ranked in the Can-Am League’s Top 5 in 10 different offensive categories including games played (T-2nd, 94), batting average (3rd), extra-base hits (3rd, 39), doubles (3rd, 27), triples (T-3rd, 4), walks (4th, 60), on-base percentage (4th, .427) and stolen bases (5th, 27). Plus he posted the league’s highest number of walks in a game (4) against the Rockland Boulders on August 18th and highest number of sacrifice flies (2) against the Shikoku Island League on June 16th. Hair also was named Can-Am League Batter of the Week (May 16-27) and Batter of the Month for May. The left-handed-hitting infielder was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays out of the University of Evansville in the 34th round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft. Spending two years in the Rays organization, Hair posted a .295/380/497 slash line with 14 home runs, 74 RBIs, 37 doubles, six triples, 78 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases.
About the Sussex County Miners
The 2019 Can-Am League Regular Season Champion Sussex County Miners are New Jersey’s newest professional baseball team. The Miners play a 96-game season in the newly formed Frontier League from May through September. Their home games are played at Skylands Stadium, one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in North Jersey. Conveniently located in the heart of Sussex County, the Skylands Stadium Sports Complex includes a 4,200-seat stadium, the all-new 17,000-square foot indoor climate-controlled Champions Way Sports Academy, a 3-acre play and party area, an 80-seat full-service restaurant – the only of its kind in all minor league baseball — and a spacious parking lot. Along with baseball, Skylands Stadium hosts numerous events including food truck festivals, beer festivals, comedy nights, concerts, stunt spectaculars, boat shows, light shows, and holiday extravaganzas, as well as private and corporate functions. For more information or tickets, please click here or call 973.383.7644.