The stats haven't been flashy, but J.T. Realmuto's inspiring performance from 2016 was right in line with his offensive numbers in the minors. He gets extra fantasy pub for the dozen steals he accumulated last season, an asset that gets highlighted given the dearth of steals available at the catcher position. Still, the crux of Realmuto's future value is with the stick, not his legs. Counting on that speed from a player that has to get in a crouch 150 times a game sets buyers up for disappointment, particularly for one whose propensity for triples in 2015 dried up completely last season. Still, his pull-heavy tendencies could morph some doubles into home runs as he matures. As promising as last season was, however, Realmuto's lack of walks could very well come back to bite him as his unsustainable BABIP (.357 in 2016) comes back to earth, with the downside for a sub-.300 on-base percentage if the walks don't materialize. Be careful.
Realmuto is expected to see some action at first base in 2017, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. He'll still be the Marlins' primary catcher, but if the team elects to carry an extra arm in their bullpen, they'll likely forego having a regular platoon partner for Justin Bour at first base and instead have Realmuto spell him on occasion against tough lefties. The 25-year-old backstop is athletic enough to pick up the new defensive assignment and is coming off a career season in which he posted a .771 OPS, so it makes sense for the Marlins to find ways to keep his bat in the lineup. Realmuto played in 137 games and received 509 at-bats in 2016, though, so don't expect a big increase in his playing time, even with the added responsibility.
Realmuto is not in the lineup for Sunday's season finale against the Nationals, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. Realmuto will rest for a second straight day as the Marlins' season comes to a close. He will finish the season (barring a pinch-hit appearance) having posted a .300/.343/.428 batting line with 11 home runs and 12 stolen bases, both career-highs, while Tomas Telis will man duties behind the plate.
Realmuto is not in Saturday's lineup against the Nationals, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. Given how weak the catcher position is, Realmuto will easily finish the year as a top-10 option at the position. His .303 batting average was aided somewhat by a .357 BABIP (career .323 BABIP), but the 11 homers and 12 steals seem like reasonable benchmarks moving forward, as he won't turn 26 until March 18. Jeff Mathis will start behind the dish and hit eighth Saturday.
Realmuto is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Mets. Jeff Mathis will take over behind the plate as Realmuto sits for the first time since Sept. 18. Realmuto's contact rate has dipped this year and that dip has not come with much of an uptick in power, but the 25-year-old has routinely found holes (.360 BABIP) and he runs more than any other player at the position. He's done enough across the board to be a top-5 catcher in terms of earned fantasy value this season.
Realmuto is out of the lineup Sunday against the Phillies, MLB.com reports. Realmuto had been behind the plate for six days in a row, so he's due for a day off in the series finale. Jeff Mathis will replace Realmuto behind the plate and bat seventh in the order.