After trading away J.T. Realmuto, the Miami Marlins got Jorge Alfaro in return, amongst other assets.
Although Jorge Alfaro is not going to make anyone forget about J.T. Realmuto, he’s been very solid behind the dish for the Miami Marlins in 2019. He hit .262 with a team-third 18 homers and 57 RBI over 130 contests. Academically, Realmuto hit .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBI in 145 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, and struck out 123 times to 154 from Alfaro.
Defensively, Alfaro nearly matches Realmuto’s vaunted “pop time.” Realmuto led the majors (again) with a mark of 1.88. Alfaro was fourth in the National League in that metric, clocking in at 1.94. The major league average, meanwhile, is 2.01 seconds.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. The Miami Marlins have 25 other catchers listed in their depth chart behind Alfaro. Which of these prospects will some day make it to the major leagues? Which will you never hear of again? Let’s shed a little light on the subject.
Miami Marlins Top 2018 Backups
Chad Wallach remained the Miami Marlins preferred backup through the season, but a concussion gave the 27-year-old enough off-time that he’ll still be considered a rookie in his next major league season. Bryan Holaday was as solid as we’ve come to expect, and may be the best backup catcher in Miami Marlins history. Also logging time at the major league level were Tyler Heineman and 35-year-old Wilkin Castillo. None of these four are likely to be considered a long-term fix at the backstop.
Who’s Probably Not Up Next?
Igor Baez and Gunner Pollman just completed their respective age-24 seasons, and have yet to spend significant time above the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs. The writing’s on the wall regarding 24-year-olds at low-A. Rodrigo Vigil calls a great game, but in 10 years in the system he’s only advanced to the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
Possible Future Major Leaguers
J.D. Osborne is probably the best hitter of the bunch below the major league level. He just hit .258 for the Clinton LumberKings, with 10 homers in 85 games. The Miami Marlins are also high on this year’s 18th round pick, Dustin Skelton. Skelton owns an absolute cannon for a right arm, and nabbed 40 percent of base stealers in Batavia.
Names You Need to Know
In the 2018 draft, in the fourth round, the Miami Marlins picked up Nick Fortes out of the University of Mississippi. This season, with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, Fortes hit .217 in 76 games, and only cranked three long-shots – but there’s room for growth, and the Marlins are pretty high on him as well.
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Two rounds before Fortes got picked, the Miami Marlins got a guy named Will Banfield with the 69th overall choice (see video, above, courtesy of Perfect Game Baseball). Although he only hit .199 for Clinton this season, that’s not really what the catcher position is for (although a good-hitting catcher is always a plus). Banfield threw out 43-of-94 runners trying to swipe second on him, good for a 46 percent gun-down rate. He also clubbed nine homers in 101 games, but the best thing about him – he’s still just 19-years-old. Expect some progression in his plate discipline and his raw power in the next few years. This is your guy right here. Banfield will be the Miami Marlins starting catcher starting probably in 2022, and hopefully for at least five to eight years after that. There’s no such thing as a “lock” for the majors, but Banfield comes closest amongst the Miami Marlins stable of backstops.
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