The 2020 season was one of the most unusual in baseball history, but it was also an unqualified success for the Marlins. A year after losing 105 games, they overcame a COVID-19 outbreak shortly after Opening Day to reach the playoffs for the first time in 17 years and sweep the Cubs in the National League Wild Card Series.
When a group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter bought the franchise from Jeffrey Loria in October 2017, Miami had endured eight consecutive losing seasons and had one of the worst farm systems in the game. While the Marlins were posting the worst record in the NL in both '18 and '19, they also restocked the organization's young talent through a series of trades, the Draft and international signings.
Miami's five best prospects -- right-handers Sixto Sánchez, outfielder JJ Bleday, righty Max Meyer, shortstop Jazz Chisholm, outfielder Jesus Sánchez -- have joined the organization since the start of 2019. The system vaulted to fourth in MLB Pipeline's 2019 midseason talent rankings and came in fifth this summer. Nine of its 11 top-ranked prospects contributed in the big leagues this season and still count as rookies, and there's depth at the lower levels as well, particularly in terms of outfielders, shortstops and pitchers.
The Marlins have the youngest team and easily the best collection of prospect talent in the NL East. Their surprising performance this season could be the start of the longest run of sustained winning in franchise history.
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 5 | Preseason: 4
2019 Midseason: 4 | Preseason: NR
2018 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2017 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked 2019 midseason.
TOP FIVE PROSPECTS
1. Sixto Sánchez, RHP (No. 19 on Top 100)
2. JJ Bleday, OF (No. 24)
3. Max Meyer, RHP (No. 33)
4. Jazz Chisholm, SS (No. 61)
5. Jesus Sánchez, OF (No. 76)
Draft: Max Meyer, RHP, 1st round (No. 3); Dax Fulton, LHP, 2nd round (No. 12); Kyle Nicolas, RHP, supplemental 2nd round (No. 21); Zach McCambley, RHP, 3rd round (No. 22); Jake Eder, LHP, 4th round (No. 23); Kyle Hurt, RHP, 5th round. Complete Draft list »
Trade: Griffin Conine, OF (No. 18)
The Marlins went all-in on pitching with their six picks in the 2020 Draft, beginning with the guy who had maybe the best stuff in the entire class (Meyer) and the top prep left-hander (Fulton). Acquired from the Blue Jays for Jonathan Villar, Conine adds to the system's collection of slugging outfielders.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
Sixto Sánchez, RHP (No. 1): The prize of the J.T. Realmuto trade with the Phillies in February 2019, Sánchez allowed five runs in his first six big league starts this summer and spun five scoreless innings against the Cubs in the Wild Card Series.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Dax Fulton, LHP (No. 12): On the mend from Tommy John surgery in 2019, he has a projectable low-90s fastball and a wipeout curveball with power and depth.
Hit: Jose Devers
Power: JJ Bleday
Run: J.D. Orr
Arm: Will Banfield
Field: Nasim Nunez
Best athlete: Monte Harrison
Fastball: Sixto Sánchez
Curveball: Braxton Garrett
Slider: Max Meyer
Changeup: Sixto Sánchez
Control: Sixto Sánchez
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
The nine Top 30 Prospects acquired via trade, headlined by the Sánchezes and Chisholm, rank second among all organizations and trail only the Rays (13).
TOP 30 BY POSITION
Bleday, Sánchez and Harrison lead a formidable group of 10 outfielders on the Top 30, tying the Brewers and the Twins for the most on any prospect list.