After spending much of 2017 firmly in the National League Wild Card race, the Miami Marlins struggled down the stretch, going 11-18 from Sept. 1 onward as they failed to reach the postseason for a 14th straight year. And while the club's 77-85 record was good enough for a second-place
After spending much of 2017 firmly in the National League Wild Card race, the Miami Marlins struggled down the stretch, going 11-18 from Sept. 1 onward as they failed to reach the postseason for a 14th straight year. And while the club's 77-85 record was good enough for a second-place finish in the NL East, it also marked the Marlins' eighth consecutive season with a sub-.500 record.
• Marlins' Top 30 Prospects list
Meanwhile, rumors persisted throughout the season regarding the potential sale of the Marlins franchise, at the time owned by Jeffrey Loria. That finally happened in August, as Loria sold the Marlins to a Derek Jeter-led ownership group for $1.2 billion.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
Tasked with significantly reducing the team's payroll, Jeter and Co. launched an organizational rebuild during the offseason, trading the Marlins' biggest stars (also their most expensive players) in exchange for hordes of prospects.
Second baseman Dee Gordon was the first to be dealt, going to the Mariners in early December in a trade that landed the Marlins three legitimate prospects, including right-hander Nick Neidert. They added two more promising young players in the subsequent days, acquiring flame-throwing righty Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers -- along with Starlin Castro -- in the blockbuster deal that sent 2017 NL MVP and Major League home-run leader Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees.
Meanwhile, it wasn't long after the Stanton deal that Miami shipped Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for a four-prospect package that included pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen, as well as a speedy center fielder in Magneuris Sierra. All three players are candidates to contribute in the Majors in 2018.
But while the trades involving Gordon, Stanton and Ozuna netted the Marlins a host of promising young players, it was their return from the Brewers in the late-January Christian Yelich deal that has the potential to pay massive dividends for years to come. In return for Yelich and his team-friendly contract, the Marlins received a pair of tooled-up, Top 100 outfield prospects in Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, power-hitting second baseman Isan Diaz and up-and-coming righty Jordan Yamamoto. The influx of talent through the aforementioned trades and those made by Loria during the regular season have quickly replenished a farm system that ranked among the worst in baseball just a year ago.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.
Rise: No one from the 2017 preseason list moved up on the 2018 list.
Fall: Tyler Kolek, RHP (2017: 2 | 2018: 28)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 50 -- Brian Miller (Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra, Isan Diaz, James Nelson, Braxton Lee, Christopher Torres, Jose Devers, Ynmanol Marinez)
Power: 55 -- Lewis Brinson (Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz, Joseph Dunand, Isael Soto)
Run: 70 -- Magneuris Sierra, Braxton Lee, Thomas Jones
Arm: 70 -- Monte Harrison
Defense: 60 -- Magneuris Sierra, (Lewis Brinson, Brian Anderson, Braxton Lee, Jose Devers, Thomas Jones, Ynmanol Marinez)
Fastball: 80 -- Jorge Guzman
Curveball: 60 -- Braxton Garrett (Jordan Holloway)
Slider: 55 -- Edward Cabrera (Sandy Alcantara, Jorge Guzman, Trevor Rogers)
Changeup: 60 -- Nick Neidert
Control: 60 -- Pablo Lopez (Nick Neidert)
How they were built
Free agent: 1
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.