When it comes to All-Star Game snubs, the Miami Marlins starting catcher stands out just as much he does behind the plate.
The Miami Marlins have a chance to end the first half with three All-Star representatives. Nothing to sneeze at, especially considering the World Champion Chicago Cubs could just as easily only end up with one.
However, the Marlins tally should be four. Catcher J.T. Realmuto deserves to be an All-Star.
This is not an argument for starting him. Florida State alum and Giants superstar Buster Posey not only leads all catchers in batting average, but the whole of baseballdom. He’s in his own tier. But Realmuto does only trail Posey and Salvador Perez at his position when it comes to hitting.
He outstrips even Perez when it comes to getting on base. His athleticism is a game changer, whether he’s on the base paths, or just policing them.
He’s still developing as a player, but you can make a strong argument for him being the third best catcher in baseball right now.
If you want to argue for a Jonathan Lucroy or the emergent Gary Sanchez being ahead of him, you’re welcome to that opinion. I might even give you Lucroy, especially since I wanted the Marlins to trade for him before the 2016 season got under way.
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The thing is both of those guys play in the American League. When it comes to the Senior Circuit, it’s Posey, then Realmuto, then everyone else. And that includes future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina.
It’s an honor he undoubtedly deserves. This season though, he trails Realmuto in average and on base percentage. That, along with J.T.’s advantage in fielding percentage, more than makes up for a slight Molina lead in homers and RBIs.
The Marlins catcher just flat out gets on base, and is capable of hitting anywhere in the batting order.
Molina is an MLB legend, and seeing him out there is part of the fun of the All-Star Game. But between Realmuto’s sheer athleticism and the All-Star mandated DH rule, there’s no reason not to carry as many as three catchers if all are deserving.
Check the stats. Realmuto deserves to be there for than Molina anyway.
It’s a case of name trumping talent. Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour is showing some excellent foresight by taking advantage of the Home Run Derby opportunity. Throw in some trade rumors, and he’ll enjoy an extremely elevated national profile for possibly the next few weeks.
He could lose the Derby in Round 1, and lose the Final Vote this week, but he’ll be harder to forget going forward in his career.
Realmuto remains one of the game’s most vanilla talents. Blocked by two generational talents at his position, and outshone by some flashier names in his own clubhouse, he’s an easy guy to ignore.
Here’s to hoping baseball fans stop ignoring him in 2018, and that whoever takes over the Miami Marlins doesn’t ignore the fact he might be the second best player on the team right now.