Baseball America’s updated top 10 prospect list sees some new faces for the Marlins. The top three should not come as a surprise, as Trevor Rogers, Braxton Garrett, and Brian Anderson are the more obvious talents for the Fish. Outfielder Brayan Hernandez (#4) places himself among the most promising young talents in the system, followed by third baseman James Nelson (#5), who is putting up strong numbers in the low minors. Outfielder Brian Miller (#8), shortstop Joe Dunand (#9), and righty Edward Cabrera (#10) all make their debut on the BA top 10 as well.
The major change in the top 10 from the beginning of the season is obvious: the Marlins system is getting younger. Outside of Anderson and Dillon Peters, who are both 24 years old and knocking on the door of the big leagues with impressive numbers in AAA and AA respectively, the rest of the top 10 is filled with players who are all 21 or younger. Four of the top five Marlins prospects are now 19 or younger. It’s time for Fish fans to take a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers playbook and trust the process.
Injuries and general lack of premium talent have highlighted the farm system’s struggles in recent years. The majority of these players, if they make it to the big leagues, won’t do so for at least another few years. However, it’s not hard to see the upside beginning to show. Young hitters like Nelson and Miller are showing above average offensive production in Greensboro at only 19 years old, Rogers and Garrett (when they eventually both take the field) have potential to be top-of-the-rotation starters, and raw talents like Hernandez and Dunand have a chance to be impact players if they reach their ceiling. One can dream of the current prospect crop, potentially supplemented by upcoming trades, become at least an average farm system. But that is what it is: a dream.
Is the Marlins farm system currently one of the worst in the majors? Yes. Currently. But there is more room to grow for a lot of these players. It’s time for Fish fans to take a glass half full approach. Refreshing a farm system takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, just ask Braves or Padres fans. The front office is beginning to bring together quality young talent that, presumably, they intend on keeping and building around. So have some optimism, but be patient. The next wave of Marlins talent might be stronger than you think.