Marlins Trade J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies
The Miami Marlins traded catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies for a package of youngsters and Greg Jewett has the full trade breakdown and fantasy baseball impact.
With major league’s offseason hot stove grading out to barely tepid, the Phillies traded for J.T. Realmuto to boost their offense. They did give up their number one prospect, pither Sixto Sanchez in the deal, but this move signals a push by Philadelphia for the next 2-to-3 seasons. Miami will also receive catcher Jorge Alfaro , pitching prospect Will Stewart and international slot money to proliferate their rebuild.
In an effort to diagnose the fantasy ramifications, each player will be covered although only Realmuto and Alfaro will be on the radar this season.
J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia
For those who took J.T. Realmuto in early drafts hoping for a ballpark upgrade, his move to Philadelphia will be a boon to his production. Realmuto set career highs in home runs (21) and RBI (74) last year while slashing .277/.340/.484 with the Marlins. With the knowledge of Miami’s park depressing fly ball power and Philadelphia’s high rankings in regards to them signals an uptick in fantasy value for Realmuto.
Over the last three years, Realmuto’s hit .286/.339/.454 with 49 home runs, a .168 isolated power and 33.7 hard hit rate. Here’s a look at all of his line drives and fly balls within this sample with Philadelphia as the overlay:
With the knowledge of Realmuto’s home and road splits, having half of his games in Citizens Bank Park will only enhance his ranking atop all catchers. Last year, Realmuto hit .283/.350/.520 with 13 home runs in 254 at-bats on the road compared to a .269/.329/.444 slash with eight home runs in 223 at-bats in home games. This also reflects within his career data as well. Using expected statistics (xSTATS), Realmuto’s expected average over the last three years sits at .292 which could materialize as a result of this trade.
Telling fantasy players J.T. Realmuto will benefit playing in Philadelphia seems basic. But given the potential rise in home runs to 23-to-25 next year along with an average in the .280-to-.290 range seems well within reach. Not to mention his counting statistics should also benefit in a much better lineup.
Representing the polar opposite of Realmuto’s value, Jorge Alfaro ’s sleeper status could be put into hibernation with this move. Alfaro’s slashed .270/.327/.422 through 143 games in the majors and 467 at-bats. However, he’s benefited from a .405 batting average on balls in play. Plus, Alfaro recorded a 31.1 strikeout percentage last year versus a 4.6 walk rate. He will walk a fine line trying to replicate his power numbers in Miami also.
Alfaro only produced fly balls 29 percent of the time last year with a 16.7 home run per fly ball rate. Hope lies within his 37.7 hard hit percentage from last season. It will be necessary for him to carry over this gain to stay fantasy relevant with the Marlins. Here’s his spray chart from the last two years of his fly balls and line drives with Miami as the overlay:
Hope lies in his ability to carry over the hard-hit gains, but unless he changes his launch angle, some correction could be coming in his average.
As the centerpiece of the trade, Miami adds the Phillies top rated pitching prospect, and first ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline in Sixto Sanchez . His work last year limited to 46.2 innings due to an elbow issue at High-A Clearwater, Sanchez still drips with upside. His stock goes up moving to a pitcher friendly park in the future. He racked up 45 strikeouts against 11 walks with a 2.51 ERA last year. Sanchez also generated a 52.3 ground ball rate. He can hit 94 MPH-plus with his fastball and also features a plus changeup. Injuries limited him the last two years, but there’s a ceiling if his talent translates to the mound going forward.
Miami also added southpaw Will Stewart who uses a low 90’s sinker and slider in his arsenal. He produced a 62 percent ground ball rate in 2018 but needs to refine his repertoire to miss more bats if he’s going to be effective in the majors. As the rebuild continues, Miami also received international slot money to try and restock the minors with talent.
On the surface, this deal makes sense to let J.T. Realmuto move on and prepare for 2019 without the trade distractions. The Marlins did well to get talent back in this deal and it will hinge on how Sixto Sanchez eventually does.
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Fangraphs.com, MiLB.com, BaseballSavant.com, xSTATS.org