Marlins' system now No. 4 in Pipeline rankings

March 10th, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. -- Over the past few seasons, the Marlins repeatedly asked their fans to be patient as they went about building up their farm system.

Now, it’s looking like it was worth the wait.

According to MLB Pipeline, the Marlins have the No. 4 farm system in baseball, which includes five players in the Top 100 -- right-hander Sixto Sánchez (22), outfielder JJ Bleday (28), shortstop Jazz Chisholm (66), outfielder Jesús Sánchez (80) and right-hander Edward Cabrera (85).

The updated Pipeline rankings have the Rays first, followed by the Padres, Dodgers, Marlins and Tigers.

On Tuesday, Miami sent down six of its top 30 prospects -- Bleday (2), Chisholm (3), Sánchez (4), first baseman Lewin Díaz (7), infielder José Devers (11) and outfielder Jerar Encarnacion (15).

Sending all six down around this time was expected, and the organization has made it clear that at least several of those players are close to being big league ready.

“These kids are all good kids that work hard,” manager Don Mattingly said. “They have good habits. Some of them are a lot closer than the other ones, but even those are not that far away. They’re right on the door. Some of them seem like they’re trying to knock it down.”

Building up the farm system has been a process, and at times a painful one, especially related to the big league roster.

Since the ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, took over after the 2017 season, the Marlins revamped their roster -- trading stars like Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and Dee Gordon.

In 2018-19, Miami's overall record was 120-203.

The trades became necessary because the organization had one of the bottom five farm systems, and lacked the depth to seriously compete.

“After all the tough decisions that we've made, it's exciting to have [these prospects] here,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said at the beginning of Spring Training.

Through trades, the Draft and international signings, Miami has infused an abundance of talent into the system, and now a foundation is in place to have sustainable success for the future.

Sixto Sánchez, Cabrera, Jorge Guzman (No. 19 prospect) and Jordan Holloway (20) were all in big league camp, but they were recently sent to the Minors. All four have fastballs that have been clocked at 100 mph or more.

And left-handers Braxton Garrett (No. 6) and Trevor Rogers (8) impressed early in camp before also being sent to Minor League camp.

Each of the organization’s first 11 prospects were in big league camp.

Bleday, the No. 4 overall pick in 2019, projects to open at either Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.

Still in Marlins camp is outfielder Monte Harrison (No. 9) and right-hander Nick Neidert (10). They both still could open at Triple-A Wichita, but they still are making their big league case.

“All offseason, I was like, ‘I’ve got a really good shot to break with the team,’” Harrison said. “They signed some people in the offseason, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to put pressure on even more.’ You know those dudes have contracts. They’ve got big league contracts, but at the end of the day, I’m going to put pressure on Donnie and Derek to be able to put me on that field.”

In the offseason, the Marlins signed outfielders Corey Dickerson and Matt Joyce, and both will be on the team. Jonathan Villar, acquired in a trade with the Orioles, has been converted from the infield to center field.

Harrison’s mentality of making the team rubbed off on the rest of the prospects.

“We’re feeding off each other 100 percent,” Chisholm said. “If the other person gets it started, then we’re going to keep on going as a family. That’s what this clubhouse is about, being a family.”