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J.T. Realmuto to Phillies - Fantasy Impact


While Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain on the free agent market as spring training approaches, the Phillies have continued to improve their 2019 roster via other means. After trading for Jean Segura and inking Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson to three-year deals in free agency, Philadelphia brought star catcher J.T. Realmuto into the fold on Thursday.

Going to Miami in the trade will be catcher Jorge Alfaro and a pair of pitching prospects (Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart) along with $250,000 in international bonus money. Pierre Camus will have the lowdown on the fantasy implications for the Marlins' haul.

As a Phillies fan, losing Sanchez - the best arm in their minor league system - is a bitter pill to swallow. But as the old adage goes, you gotta give to get. The Phillies got a great player in Realmuto, one who a lot of teams were linked to and would have loved to have on their roster. Let's discuss his outlook in his new home, shall we?

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Realmuto: Real Good

In 125 games last season with the Marlins, Realmuto hit .277/.340/.484 and finished third among catchers in batting average, homers (21), and RBI (74), while leading all players at the position with 74 runs scored. All of those counting stats were career highs. He did so despite playing poorly in the final two months of the season.

While he maintained his HR pace in those months, he hit just .214/.304/.384 after the trade deadline, compared to a .308/.359/.535 line prior. Perhaps Realmuto was depressed after Miami failed to trade him to a contender. Whatever the case, that late-season swoon didn't prevent him from being the most valuable catcher in baseball and bringing home a Silver Slugger award on top of his first All-Star Game appearance.

The move to Philadelphia should only help Realmuto. While the Phillies finished in the bottom third of MLB in runs a year ago (677), they still scored nearly 100 more than the last-place Marlins (589). They've also added Segura and McCutchen, with Carlos Santana the only notable subtraction and the lingering possibility of adding Harper or Machado (or both, he whispered, glaring meaningfully in Matt Klentak's general direction). Additionally, over the past three seasons, Realmuto has been a much better hitter away from Marlins Park:

2016-18 AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI wRC+
Home .247 .299 .379 81 16 72 89
Away .320 .373 .520 121 33 115 137

Suffice it to say, Realmuto and Marlins Park did not get along. Meanwhile, Citizens Bank Park has always played friendly to hitters. Freed from the confines of an inhospitable home park and a lousy team, it's not difficult to imagine the 27-year-old building on his breakout year.

One question fantasy owners will likely be asking is whether or not they can expect Realmuto to chip in any stolen bases. After swiping 28 bases in the previous three seasons, he managed just three in five attempts last year. Nothing suggests he's lost any foot speed, so this will likely come down to situational concerns and where he slots in the batting order.

Last season, Realmuto primarily hit second or third in the Marlins lineup after collecting most of his plate appearances in the previous three years from the 7-hole. Barring any further additions, it's likeliest that he would hit somewhere in the middle of the order for Philadelphia, which might put a damper on any hopes for bonus speed from the catcher position. However, the arrival of Harper or Machado could push him down to a spot where he would be more likely to run.

 

ADP Lowdown

Regardless of what other transactions may or may not happen, this trade does nothing but enhance Realmuto's fantasy value for 2019. He was already the first catcher off the board in early drafts by NFBC ADP (57, just ahead of Gary Sanchez at 58). You can expect that gap to widen at least a little going forward. Given the significant drop after the top tier at the position, it wouldn't be a shock to see Realmuto's ADP creep into the top-50.

A durable catcher who can hit for both average and power, while potentially adding a handful of stolen bases? There's only one guy who fits that bill. He's now the property of the Philadelphia Phillies, who paid a hefty price to make it so. If you want him on your fantasy roster this season, you'll need to follow suit.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Analysis