The 2019 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 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 Miners 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.
Ford comes to the Miners 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 the Miners 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).
“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 Miners’ 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 Aug. 18 and highest number of sacrifice flies (2) against the Shikoku Island League on June 16.