The tragic death of Marlins ace and franchise cornerstone Jose Fernandez on Sept. 25 sent shockwaves not just across Major League Baseball, but throughout the entire sporting world. It also overshadowed what had been a promising season for Miami, which, despite finishing with a 79-82 record, contended for a Wild Card spot for much of the year before fading down the stretch.
The possibility of a return to the postseason for the first time since 2003, when the Marlins defeated the Yankees in the World Series, made Miami a buyer at the Trade Deadline. But with few tradable pieces on its big league roster, the club was forced to part with two of its better prospects in 2015 first-rounder (No. 12 overall) Josh Naylor and right-hander Chris Paddack, both of whom the Marlins dealt to the Padres in separate deals prior to the Deadline.
• Marlins' 2017 Top 30 Prospects list
||BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
||ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
||CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
||CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL
||HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
||ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
The offseason saw the Marlins trade even more prospects, most notably right-handed flamethrower Luis Castillo, who was sent to the Reds with toolsy outfielder Isaiah White and big league reliever Austin Brice in exchange for Dan Straily in January.
Those trades haven't completely depleted Miami's system of impact talent, though. Third baseman Brian Anderson has the tools to become an everyday player, and he could be ready for a taste of the big leagues in late 2017. The same goes for lefty starter Dillon Peters and reliever Drew Steckenrider, two of the club's more improved prospects in '16.
Meanwhile, the Marlins believe the sky is the limit for Braxton Garrett, their first-round Draft pick (No. 7 overall) in 2016, and '14 first-rounder (No. 2) Tyler Kolek is expected to be fully healthy for the start of the season after Tommy John surgery wiped out his '16 campaign.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.
Jump: Dillon Peters, LHP (2016: NR | 2017: 5)
Fall: Tomas Telis, C (2016: 17 | 2017: 29)
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.
Hit: Brian Anderson (50)
Power: Isael Soto (55)
Run: Justin Twine (70)
Arm: Brian Anderson (60)
Defense: Thomas Jones (60)
Fastball: Tayron Guerrero (70)
Curveball: Braxton Garrett (60)
Slider: Edward Cabrera (55)
Changeup: Braxton Garrett (55)
Control: Dillon Peters (55)
How they were built
Free agent: 2
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Here's a look at the Marlins' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.