J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
Realmuto appeared in 126 games for the Marlins in 2015, hitting .259/.290/.406 with 114 hits, 21 doubles, seven triples, ten home runs, 49 runs, 47 RBIs, eight stolen bases (twelve attempts), 19 walks, and 70 strikeouts with an OPS+ of 90 over 467 plate appearances.
Realmuto at No. 2? Now before you go criticizing my evaluation abilities, take a look at the numbers above. That’s a 24-year old catcher in his rookie season. Doesn’t look too bad now does it? J.T. Realmuto has the ceiling that Ramos was blessed with early in his career, and it would surprise no one if he became the Marlins’ every day catcher for the next five years.
His 21 doubles were tied for seventh-most among catchers, while his seven triples and eight stolen bases were the best among any backstop in the league. With the fences being moved in this season at Marlins Park, it would not be surprising to see some of those doubles and triples turn into homers. Not to mention Miami’s lineup will be getting some guy named Giancarlo Stanton back, and that can do nothing but good things for the rest of the team.
While looking to avoid a sophomore slump, Realmuto will be working closely with hitting coach and home run king Barry Bonds to keep his swing in top form. On the defensive side of the ball, he will be looking at a much better rotation than last season. A full season of Jose Fernandez in addition to newly signed Wei-Yin Chen should help Realmuto settle in defensively with his pitching staff.
So what should you expect out of Realmuto in 2016? A quality above average season that could even help push Miami into the playoff conversation come this September (given that a few other players have the years we’re expecting them to). But this is baseball, and anything can happen.
Next: #1 Catcher in the NL East