The Miami Marlins have a catching problem, but it seemed to be solved when the organization signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal this offseason. Saltalamacchia will prove to be a stopgap type player for upcoming catching prospect J.T. Realmuto in the future. The time of Rob Brantly is slowly passing, and the time of Realmuto is making its way.
The 22-year-old right-handed catcher spent all of 2013 with the Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns. The Southern League is Double-A level in the minors, and the majority of the league features the cream of the crop of young prospects in each team’s organization. Realmuto played in 106 games for the Suns, and he batted .239/.310/.353 with five home runs and 39 RBI.
Realmuto seems to be working on his power a bit more as he increased his doubles total from 2012 to 2013 with 21 doubles. His home runs decreased along with his RBI numbers, but his strikeouts increased from 64 to 68. You can tell that he needs to be more disciplined at the plate and find his center as a power-hitting catcher if he is destined to become one.
Defensively, he only allowed 12 passed balls and had a caught stealing rate of 34 percent. If he can work on his catching ability a bit more, Realmuto will make the jump in a few years to possibly back Saltalamacchia.
However, he is still very young and has a lot to learn. Thankfully, if he ever gets a chance to work with manager Mike Redmond, the skipper could fix his problems and help him work on things being that Redmond was a former big-league catcher himself.