The Marlins have had a number of homegrown talents come through their farm system and succeed at the Major League level in the past couple of seasons. Players such as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Jose Fernandez, Steve Cishek, and even going back to Giancarlo Stanton have been brought up through the Marlins farm system and are now core pieces to a playoff-aspiring ball club in 2015.
As those players have gone up and remained in the majors, Miami's farm system has been weakened. This in addition to the Marlins trading two of their top-two prospects in the past year, Andrew Heaney and Colin Moran, led to them not having any players ranked in Baseball Prospectus's Top 101 Prospect list. Baseball Prospectus also released a ranking of farm systems and had the Marlins farm system ranked 29th. Here is what they had to say about Miami's system:
A system already weakened over the past year by aggressive promotions to the big-league club got even weaker with the trade of Andrew Heaney to the Dodgers (and subsequently, the Angels). The system, as it stands now, hinges on the developmental progress of 2014 second overall pick Tyler Kolek, which is just beginning and has a long way to go. After Kolek, the Marlins feature a muddle of middling talent that should result in some usable pieces, but lacks impact. Overall, this is one of the weaker systems in the game.
Baseball Prospectus did name Tyler Kolek, the second-overall pick by the Marlins in the 2014 draft, as Miami's top prospect, but the 19-year-old pitcher did not make the list. They also named the Marlins Triple-A affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyers, as Miami's "Must-See Affiliate" with J.T. Realmuto, Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena, and Nick Wittgrenn as the "The Prospects to See There" in New Orleans.
After not having any prospects named to Baseball Prospectus's Top 101 prospect list, it is conceivable that the Marlins would not land a respectable spot on the team farm system rankings list. Although prospects such as Tyler Kolek and J.T. Realmuto received recognition from Keith Law in his prospect list, both still have a lot to prove before they reach the Majors. Kolek will start playing A-ball this year and is considered to be a long-term pitching project, as Keith Law does not think he will move up through the system fast. Realmuto will play with New Orleans this season after making promising strides at the plate in his second season at the Double-A level.
The Marlins are trying to compete now, and by doing so they are exchanging top prospects in their system for players who can help them win now. The Marlins dealt away two of their top prospects in the past year in an effort to improve their big league club. Miami traded its sixth-overall selection in the 2013 draft, Colin Moran, to the Astros in exchange for Jarred Cosart around the trade deadline last season in an effort to strengthen the rotation. This offseason, Miami traded their top prospect, Andrew Heaney, to acquire Dee Gordon, which filled a long-lasting need at second base, and Dan Haren.
The fact of the Marlins trying to compete and building a contender is not an excuse for having a shallow farm system, as the Dodgers, Red Sox, Pirates, and Nationals, were all ranked in the top 11 in Baseball Prospectus's team rankings. But it is refreshing to see the front office make an effort to compete and win now. Whether the Marlins gave up too much for Jarred Cosart and Dee Gordon remains to be seen, but the Marlins are doing everything they can to compete in 2015.
The Marlins would obviously love to be able to compete, along with having one of the best farm systems in the majors. Not having a strong farm system is definitely a concern for the future, but Miami is definitely currently content with competing with one of the best young cores in baseball.