J.T. Realmuto: Is He The Miami Marlins First Career Player?

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 30: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins runs after hitting a 2-RBI double in the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on June 30, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 30: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins runs after hitting a 2-RBI double in the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on June 30, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins should make locking up J.T. Realmuto a priority this winter.

J.T. Realmuto is quietly putting together one of the best seasons in Miami Marlins history for a catcher, only rivaled by Pudge Rodriguez in 2003 during the World Series Run.  He also statistically tops in categories like WAR and Pop Time. He was also a first-time All-Star (and father!).

As a fan of the current team and looking forward to a bright future in Miami, I think Jeter should make J.T. a contract offer he can’t refuse and lock him up long-term.

It seems as though people in the baseball business know about J.T. Realmuto. They know his value as a leader and teammate behind the dish. Fans (outside of South Florida) on the other hand seem to not know about baseball’s best-kept secret.

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If you look at the All-Star Voting, it took a huge push by the Marlins and fans to have J.T. crack the top five. THEN the players didn’t even vote him in. He had to be placed on the roster by MLB because each team needs at least one representative.

The previous MLB season unofficially crowned J.T. Realmuto as baseballs most athletic catcher. This year he is making his case for MLB’s BEST catcher, and it’s not even really close.

He leads NL catchers in batting average, hits (tie 89), and 2B (21), AVG (.304), OPS (.884) and WAR 3.7 and he is second in RBI (49) per ESPN stats. His average Pop Time leads MLB (min 20) at 1.89 seconds (MLB Average is 2.01) and his caught stealing percentage is 41.

Realmuto has the fastest recorded Pop Time, 1.76 sec, since 2015.

https://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/mp4/2018/05/24/2075871183/1527126753013/asset_2500K.mp4

Clip via mlb.com media downloads – J.T. Realmuto best-recorded pop time in Statcast era since 2015

Casual fans know names like Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. Once the Marlins turn the corner in the next year or two J.T. Realmuto will be a household name, IF the Marlins lock him up.

As a fan, I can see Realmuto anchoring this team long-term. I live in Central, IL and Cardinal fans are everywhere. I hear about Yadi all of the time and how much Cardinals fan love him. I picture that kind of future for him in Miami.

Realmuto can be to the Miami Marlins what Molina is to the St. Louis Cardinals.

For years, Molina has anchored the Cardinals. He’s a superstar and has been with the team for years. Ups and Downs. Winning seasons, losing seasons. World Series victories, non-playoff seasons. But he has always been there, and recently extended his contract with them to finish his career and retire a St. Louis Cardinal.

The Marlins have never had a career player. Fans know, once a player becomes a superstar and would start to cost some money they would be traded off. With new owners in charge and a definitive vision for the future things are changing in South Florida.

As player success comes and corresponds with team success I think fans can expect to not see so much player turnover as in years past. Jeter and his team of executives know what winning is and how to go about it.

I argue that an anchor such as Realmuto is paramount to future success. He could/should be Miami’s first career player. If you pay attention to Twitter there isn’t much talk about him being moved before the trade deadline on July 31st.

The asking price is extremely high. According to Marlins reporter Joe Frisaro, there have been internal discussions about extending the All-Star an offer this winter.

As a fan, I hope Jeter and company see the value in Realmuto. I hope they will make him an offer he cannot turn down. If they explain their vision for the future and his part in it I don’t see how he can say no.

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