The Marlins have come a long way in three years. In 2018, they finished with the worst record in the National League at 63-98 and possessed a mediocre farm system. They got worse in 2019, dropping to 105 losses, but they rallied last year for their first winning record in a decade and first playoff appearance in 16 seasons -- and their collection of prospect talent now ranks among the best in the game.
After a group headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter bought the franchise from Jeffrey Loria in October 2017, it immediately set about reducing payroll and trying to bolster one of the worst farm systems in baseball by trading its best and most expensive players. In retrospect, jettisoning Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Strange-Gordon and Christian Yelich may not yield more than Sandy Alcantara, Sixto Sánchez and three rising prospects in shortstops Jazz Chisholm (via Zac Gallen) and José Devers and right-hander Nick Neidert.
While those deals produced mixed results, the Marlins have mined the Draft and international markets well in recent years. After stocking up on hitters (outfielders JJ Bleday, Kameron Misner, Peyton Burdick; shortstop Nasim Nunez) in the 2019 Draft, the loaded up on pitchers (led by righties Max Meyer and Kyle Nicolas) last June. Shortstops Jose Salas (Venezuela) and Yiddi Cappe (Cuba) and right-hander Eury Perez (Dominican Republic), products of the last two international classes, all have intriguing ceilings.
Miami not only has the youngest team in the National League East, but it also has easily the best crop of prospects, and the farm system ranks as the fourth-best in baseball. It's conceivable that the first nine players on MLB Pipeline's Marlins Top 30 could see action in the Majors this year, and the franchise's future hasn't seemed this bright in quite a while.
Here's a look at the Marlins' top prospects:
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2020 preseason list to the 2021 preseason list.
Jump: Victor Mesa Jr., OF (2020: 21 | 2021: 13) -- While Víctor Víctor Mesa has been disappointing at the plate, younger brother Victor Jr. has been the exact opposite, as he's one of the most natural hitters in the system.
Fall: Jorge Guzman, RHP (2020: 19 | 2021: NR) -- He still can effortlessly run his fastball into triple digits but needs to polish the other aspects of his craft.
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: 55 -- José Devers (J.J. Bleday, Victor Mesa Jr.)
Power: 60 -- J.J. Bleday
Run: 65 -- Nasim Nunez (Connor Scott)
Arm: 70 -- Will Banfield (Monte Harrison)
Defense: 60 -- Nasim Nunez (José Devers, Monte Harrison)
Fastball: 70 -- Sixto Sánchez (Jordan Holloway, Max Meyer, Kyle Nicolas)
Curveball: 60 -- Zach McCambley (Dax Fulton, Braxton Garrett, Jordan Holloway)
Slider: 70 -- Max Meyer
Changeup: 65 -- Sixto Sánchez
Control: 60 -- Sixto Sánchez (Nick Neidert)
How they were built
Draft: 15 | International: 6 | Trade: 8 | Rule 5: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2021: 12 | 2022: 7 | 2023: 7 | 2024: 4
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 1 | SS: 5 | OF: 9 | RHP: 10 | LHP: 4