Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 73 of 286. Stay tuned.
J.T. Realmuto is a 6’1″, 210 lb. catcher from Del City, Oklahoma. Born on March 18th, 1991, he was the third round pick of the Florida Marlins in 2010, with the 104th choice off the board out of Carl Albert High School.
Players chosen with the 104th overall selection have made it as far as the major leagues on 22-of-54 occasions, including Realmuto. The “104 club” is led by David DeJesus (2000, Kansas City Royals, 23.2 career WAR), Wayne Garrett (1965, Milwaukee Braves, 16.8 WAR), and Realmuto (13.0 WAR). You can follow Realmuto on Twitter @JTRealmuto.
After signing with the Miami Marlins for a $600,000 bonus, Realmuto reported to the GCL Marlins in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and went seven-for-40 in a dozen games. He was perfect in 31 innings behind the plate, and cut down three-of-10 baserunners trying to steal.
Realmuto increased his kill rate gunning down runners in 2011 with the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League, nailing 42-of-100 in 76 games at catcher. He racked up a .978 fielding percentage in 651 1/3 innings of work. At the plate, he slashed .287/.347/.454 in 96 contests in total, with a dozen homers and 49 RBI. He was also successful in stealing 13 bases in 19 attempts.
In 2012 with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League, Realmuto played in 123 contests and slashed .256/.319/.345 with eight home runs and 46 RBI. By then the number five Marlins prospect according to Baseball America, he also stole another 13 bases in 18 tries, and drew 37 walks while striking out 64 times. Defensively, he threw out 40-of-111 basestealers, a 36 percent kill rate. Later that year, Realmuto played in 14 Arizona Fall League games with the Phoenix Desert Dogs. He went eight-for-36 at the dish.
sportsforecaster.com scouted Realmuto succinctly:
"Displays a solid bat. Also very good defensively, he is adept at throwing out runners and can call a good game. Also, for a catcher he runs well. Does not have monster power, so his offensive contributions come with some limitations. Also, he can wear down at times if used too much in MLB."
2013 would see Realmuto graduate another level, to double-A with the Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns. By then, he was the ninth ranked Miami Marlins prospect, he hit .239/.310/.353 in 106 games, with five home runs and 39 RBI. He also stole nine out of 10 bases and drew 36 walks while striking out 68 times. He threw out another 34 percent of runners, nailing 26-of-77 through the season.
Realmuto appeared in 97 games in 2014 with the Suns, and hit .299/.369/.461 with eight round-trippers and 62 RBI, drawing 41 walks and striking out 59 times. On June 5th, he made his major league debut with the Miami Marlins, and wore jersey number 60. He went two-for-four with three RBI in an 11-6 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. After seven games in June, he rejoined the Suns, but was again recalled to the Marlins for the end of the season. On September 26th, in a 15-7 victory against the Washington Nationals, he hit a single, a double, and a triple with four RBI.
In 2015, Realmuto was ranked as the MLB Pipeline’s number 76 overall prospect. In 126 games with the Miami Marlins, he slashed .259/.290/.406 with eight stolen bases and a team-third 10 home runs. He collected 21 doubles, a team-second seven triples, and 47 RBI, drawing 19 walks and striking out 70 times. His initial campaign would also see him throw out 16-of-59 basestealers and put up a .993 fielding percentage. He ranked fifth in the National League with 118 games behind the plate and with 836 putouts as a catcher.
2016 would see Realmuto appear in an NL second 129 games at catcher, and lead the Senior Circuit with 80 assists from catcher. He was third in the league with 1,069 putouts, and first with eight double plays turned. He appeared in 137 games in total, ranking second on the team with 12 stolen bases. He was second on the team in batting average, and slashed .303/.343/.428 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI.
In 2017, Realmuto started the season strong, getting named the NL Player of the Week after going 11-for-22 through Miami’s first five games, with two walks, a double, a triple, two homers, six runs, and six RBI. Overall, he hit .278/.332/.451 with 36 walks and 106 strikeouts. Defensively he threw out 32 percent of baserunners and earned a .994 fielding percentage.
For the first time in 2018, Realmuto was recognized as an all-star, and rightfully so. He led the NL with a 1.9 pop time and threw out 21-of-55 basestealers, good for a 38 percent kill-rate. Despite missing the first three weeks of the season on the disabled list, he led the Marlins with 21 homers and 74 RBI. He hit .277/.340/.484 in 125 games.
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At this point, nothing less than an all-star campaign is what is expected from Realmuto. He has proved himself an elite level catcher at the highest level of baseball in the world. Still just 27-years-old, he’s just now entering his prime.
Miami Marlins management has stated their desire to ink Realmuto to a deal. Alternately, the Marlins shouldn’t bend on their asking price. It’s a sellers market out there, and Realmuto’s skills are not easily duplicated. A quality starter and two top prospects should be where the bidding starts.
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