Tag Archives: Sixto Sanchez

J.T. Realmuto becomes lone Phillies player named to 2019 NL All-Star squad

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Bryce Harper jokes with J.T. Realmuto at 2018 MLB All-Star Game

When general manager Matt Klentak made a big trade back on February 7 of this year to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins, he knew that the Philadelphia Phillies were gaining one of the most respected catchers in the game.

Klentak paid a big price to acquire the now 28-year-old from Oklahoma. Sent to Miami were the organization’s top pitching prospect, one of the most prized in the game, in right-hander Sixto Sanchez. Also going to the Marlins were catcher Jorge Alfaro and another minor league pitcher.
Realmuto was a big part of the Phillies early-season rise to the top of the NL East Division. Though his offensive production tailed off during what was a difficult month of June for the entire team, his defensive game never wavered.
The Phillies catcher remains one of the top backstops in all of Major League Baseball. This afternoon, that was recognized once again with his selection as a reserve on the National League All-Star team.
This marks a second consecutive NL All-Star nod for Realmuto. Last year as a member of the Marlins he was one of four backstops named to the NL squad. This year, at least as the initial reserves are announced, there will be three.

The starting catcher voted to the squad for a second straight year was Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Joining Realmuto as a back-up behind the plate will be Yasmani Grandal of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Realmuto entered last year’s game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. as a defensive replacement for Contreras in the top of the 6th inning. He would make two plate appearances, walking twice and scoring a run during an 8-6 win for the American League.
The Phillies lone All-Star representative a year ago was pitcher Aaron Nola, who would go on to finish third in the NL Cy Young Award voting during a stellar 2018 campaign. Nola threw a scoreless 5th inning, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
The most likely Phillies to also be considered were probably utility player Scott Kingery and reliever Hector Neris. Leading the Phillies in RBIs, Bryce Harper was an NL All-Star in each of the last four years and in six of his first seven season. Rhys Hoskins was a participant in last year’s Home Run Derby and is the Phillies current leader in home runs. None made the NL squad, at least in the initial announcement. It is possible that injuries and other considerations could still open an opportunity.
Realmuto is arbitration-eligible for one more season. He will become a free agent after the 2020 season if the Phillies do not sign him to a contract extension prior to that time. The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place this year at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9.

Phillies head to South Florida seeking revenge on the Miami Marlins

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Phillies visit Marlins Park seeking revenge

The Philadephia Phillies (43-38) are down in South Florida for a weekend meeting with the host Miami Marlins (30-49) at Marlins Park.

Coming off an uplifting four-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak and avenge last weekend’s home sweep at the hands of the Fish.
A week ago at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins took all three games by holding the Phillies to just eight runs scored. By the end of that series, the Phillies had dropped seven games in a row and their season was spiraling out of control.
While the Mets series allowed the Phillies to regain their positive mojo, they cannot afford to give any of that momentum back. Just as they were last weekend, the Marlins are the owners of the worst record in the National League. They came home from Philadelphia and were promptly swept by the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins offense has generated just 3.52 runs-per-game, the worst run production in the NL and second-lowest scoring average in all of Major League Baseball. Their 60 home runs are the least in all of baseball and their .646 OPS is the lowest in the game.
That lack of power has not translated in their meetings with the Phillies. The Miami hitters have blasted 11 of their 60 home runs this season over 10 previous games between the two teams, resulting in a 5-5 split.
While they generally suffer to score, at least when playing the other 28 teams in baseball, the Marlins pitching staff has been strong. The cumulative batting average against mark of .242 is tied for the 6th best in the game. The Miami pitchers have surrendered just 94 home runs, tied for the fourth-most stingy staff in baseball.
The challenge for the Phillies this weekend will be the same as last. Find a way to score against Marlins pitching. The Phillies have scored 45 runs in the 10 meetings. That is a mediocre 4.5 runs-per-game, and it is exaggerated by two games in which the Phillies hitters produced 21 runs. That means in the other eight games, the Phillies have averaged just 4.375 runs.
Also, Phillies pitching is going to have to start holding the Marlins hitters in the park themselves, the same way those other 28 pitching staffs have been doing.

MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Brian Anderson: The 26-year-old third baseman leads the Fish with 10 homers, 26 extra-base hits, and 34 RBIs
Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old right fielder slashing .311/.379/.490 has 7 homers, 12 extra-base hits, and 23 RBIs in just 169 plate appearances
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old shortstop hitting .286 with a .350 OBP leads the club with 19 doubles and a half-dozen steals
Neil Walker: 33-year-old first baseman hitting .280 with a .362 OBP has 14 XBH over 177 plate appearances. Just activated this past week after spending a month on the IL
Harold Ramirez: 25-year-old rookie playing mostly LF is slashing .313/.348/.407 with 21 runs and 18 RBIs over just 158 plate appearances after being promoted on May 11
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 32 RBIs and always seems to do something against the Phillies

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Jorge Alfaro: the 26-year-old catcher was traded to the Fish from the Phillies along with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and another prospect arm in exchange for J.T. Realmuto back in early February. He came to the Phillies as part of a big package received in the Cole Hamels deal with Texas at the 2015 MLB trade deadline.
Alfaro’s status for this series is currently up in the air. He is currently on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol. In a game last Thursday against the Saint Louis Cardinals, Alfaro was hit in the mask by a back-swing of former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He later took a foul ball off the mask as well. He is eligible to be activated as early as the series opener on Friday, and will be a day-to-day decision at this point.
Prior to his IL stint, Alfaro was one of the Marlins top run producers. Their regular starting catcher, his nine homers are second and his 24 RBIs are third among all Miami hitters.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 18 hits over 18.2 IP across four games (three starts) with a 19/4 K:BB ratio. The 24-year-old right-hander in his second big-league season went five innings last weekend, allowing three earned on four hits including a pair of homers. He struck out six and walked two and left with the Phillies up 3-1. The Marlins rallied to win 5-3 after he was out.
SATURDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, seven hits over 19 IP across three starts with a 19/8 K:BB ratio. The 23-year-old righty rookie from Hawaii came to the Marlins from the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2018 as part of a four-prospect package for Christian Yelich. This will be his third big-league start. He allowed just two hits and two earned in a five-inning start last weekend at Citizens Bank Park, earning the victory in a 6-4 Marlins win. Yamamoto has won each of his three starts to this point.
SUNDAY – Trevor Richards: 3-8, 3.94 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 76 hits over 89 IP across 16 starts with an 80/38 K:BB ratio. The 26-year-old righty is in his second big-league season after signing as an undrafted free agent back in July 2016. The Phillies got to him for five earned on six hits including a pair of homers over four innings in a 12-9 victory back on April 27 in Miami.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly: As a ballplayer, Mattingly was a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. The 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year, he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly served as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager for five years 2011-15, guiding the Dodgers to three straight NL West crowns in his final three seasons. Over parts of four seasons now in Miami he has fashioned a 249-314 record and been at the helm as the franchise has undergone a major personnel teardown and rebuild process.

THE BALLPARK

Marlins Park has been renovated for the 2019 season. Perhaps the most noticeable difference for fans in Philly watching this series on television will be the removal of the massive and colorful home run sculpture that adorned center field since the ballpark opened for the 2012 season.
The dimensions are 344 down the left field line and 335 to right field. A big ballpark, the right- and left-center power alleys are 392 and 386 feet away respectively. It will be a 407 foot shot to dead-center field.
Located on the site of the old Orange Bowl, Marlins Park sits in the Little Havana section of the city, just two miles west of the downtown Miami area. At a 37,442 normal seating capacity, it is the third-smallest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It is also one of six MLB parks with a retractable roof, so weather is unlikely to play any role this weekend.

Phillies once dealt top prospect pitcher Kyle Drabek to help land Roy Halladay

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Kyle Drabek was the key piece in package to bring Roy Halladay to the Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies completed a big trade this afternoon, landing all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins. As part of the package sent to Miami, the Phillies gave up their top prospect, pitcher Sixto Sanchez.

As with most deals in which a team parts with its number one prospect for a veteran, there was a segment of the Phillies fan base who vocally lamented the inclusion of Sanchez in this trade.
What those fans need to remember is that prospects are one thing and one thing only – an asset for a Major League Baseball organization. That asset could one day come up to the big club and help the team win directly. They could also be utilized as a chip in a deal to help improve the big club. Both are legitimate uses of prospect talent.
A decade ago, the Phillies dealt away another top pitching prospect in a big trade for an all-star. That pitching prospect was named Kyle Drabek, and he was used as a piece to acquire a veteran pitcher named Roy Halladay.
One comment that I read today opined that the talent levels of Drabek and Sanchez were completely different. I also saw someone make the argument that Drabek was dealt for a “Hall of Famer”, while the Phillies “only” got a modest catcher upgrade for Sanchez. I think those arguments are specious and ignore the actual facts and talent levels of the players involved at the time of the respective deals.
Let’s travel back nearly a decade in time. When Baseball America released their 2010 Prospect Handbook, one of the most respected prospect reports in the game, Drabek was rated as the Phillies #2 prospect behind outfielder Domonic Brown.
While some Phillies fans might scoff at that, the fact remains that back then, Brown was considered one of the very top prospects in the entire sport. In fact, Brown would reach a point where he was ranked as the #1 prospect in all of baseball. Three different evaluators from Baseball America released their individual Top 50 Prospects lists in that publication.
Jim Callis ranked Drabek as the #18 overall prospect in the game and the fifth-highest ranked pitcher. John Manuel had Drabek at #16 overall, and the sixth-best overall pitching prospect. Will Lingo placed Drabek at #30 overall and the game’s ninth-rated pitching prospect.
In his scouting report, the son of 1990 NL Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek was said to possess “the organization’s best curveball, a power downer that he can bury or throw for strikes.” There were scouts that gave the pitch a 70-grade. He also threw a fastball that usually ran in the low-90’s with “solid-average life.
Drabek’s athleticism, coordination, and competitiveness were all considered at the top of the charts. In short, the right-hander selected at 18th overall in the first round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft by the Phillies was considered as close to a can’t-miss prospect as you can get.
To say that Halladay was a Hall of Famer is disengenous, because he was not one at the time of this deal. At that time, Doc was already 32-years-old and had pitched parts of a dozen seasons with Toronto. He had 148 wins and 1,495 strikeouts, had won a Cy Young Award, and had six AL all-star honors on his record.
That is a strong career, but there are many pitchers with a similar resume who never reach the Hall of Fame. Trying to gauge what a pitcher is going to accomplish after age 32 is a risky proposition at best.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can of course understand how Halladay was elected to the Hall of Fame last month in his first year on the ballot. But at the time of the trade, no one knew that he was going to win an NL Cy Young, finish runner-up the following year, pitch a perfect game, and toss a playoff no-hitter with the Phillies.
Drabek was not traded for a “Hall of Famer”, he was traded as part of a three-prospect package for one of the top starting pitchers in the game, one who was arguably exiting his prime. In fact, Halladay would pitch for just two more full seasons with the Phillies and parts of two more.

Sixto Sanchez becomes the latest top pitching prospect used as a trade chip by the Phillies. (Baseball Betsy)
Also going to Toronto in that trade were another pair of highly-considered prospects, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud. Those two were considered the Phillies #3 and #4 prospects respectively. Manuel had Taylor as his #23-ranked overall prospect, and the outfielder was in the Top 50 of both Callis and Lingo.
So the Phillies did not “get a Hall of Famer for Drabek” – they got a strong veteran pitcher for a premium prospect package, three of the club’s top four prospects at that time.
In his first season with the Toronto organization, Drabek continued his ascent up the rankings. He became the Blue Jays top prospect by 2011 following a 2010 campaign in which he went 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA and allowed just 126 hits over 162 innings. For that performance, Drabek was named the top prospect in the Double-A Eastern League.
Unfortunately, Drabek’s career from that point out would be derailed by injuries and inconsistency. He would pitch in parts of seven big-league seasons with the Blue Jays, White Sox, and Dbacks compiling just an 8-15 record. Drabek produced a 5.26 career ERA and 1.698 WHIP, allowing 188 hits over 179.2 innings across 43 games, 30 of them starts, with a horrendous 123/117 K:BB ratio.
Taylor played in parts of four big-league campaigns from 2011-14 with the A’s and White Sox. He slashed just .167/.254/.216 with one career home run in 114 plate appearances across 37 games in Major League Baseball.
The lowest-ranked prospect in the deal, d’Arnaud has had the best career. He was dealt by Toronto to the Mets in December 2012 along with Noah Syndergaard and two others in exchange for veteran pitcher R.A. Dickey and two prospects. d’Arnaud has played in parts of six injury-marred seasons, two of those as the Mets primary catcher.
In this present-day deal the Phillies have given up their top overall prospect. Sanchez was ranked as the #13 overall prospect in the game by Baseball America and the #21 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline. They also gave up a 25-year-old catcher with upside potential. The other pieces are, at least at this stage, to be considered negligible.
Maybe Sanchez will turn into Fergie Jenkins, the young pitcher dealt away to the Cubs in spring training of 1966 who turned into a Cy Young winner and Baseball Hall of Famer. Maybe he’ll turn into Carlos Carrasco, traded to the Indians in the Cliff Lee deal in summer 2009 who has gone on to win 79 games and is still going strong today. And maybe he’ll follow in Drabek’s footsteps, never reaching the lofty potential of his present talent.
The point of all of this? Phillies fans should stop sweating the surrender of Sanchez in this deal. Prospects are just that, prospects. The Phillies just used one to land the best catcher in the game today.
Nobody expects Realmuto to pull a Halladay and become a Hall of Famer. He doesn’t need to do that. He does have to give the Phillies two, and hopefully more, quality seasons behind the plate, helping the team return to the perennial contender status which they enjoyed during the days when they dealt away Drabek.

Phillies reel in big Fish in trade for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto

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The Phillies obtained all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Marlins

The Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins have completed a big trade this afternoon in which all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be heading north to Philadelphia.

In return the Marlins will receive catcher Jorge Alfaro, the Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez, prospect pitcher Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot per ESPN insider Jeff Passan.

Philadelphia and Miami are in agreement on a trade that would send All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot, league sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.

Realmuto will turn 28-years-old in the middle of spring training next month and is regarded as the top all-around catcher in the game today. He is signed at $5.9 million for this coming season and will be eligible for arbitration this time a year from now. After that he is scheduled to become a free agent.
The Phillies are certain to make early attempts at extending him for at least two-three years, taking him out to his early -30’s. In a piece just yesterday here at PN as these rumors were breaking, I wrote about a recent attempt by San Diego to obtain Realmuto contingent on negotiating just such an extension. The Marlins refused the Padres request.
Realmuto became a National League all-star for the first time last season. He also won the NL Silver Slugger after slashing .277/.340/.484 with 21 homers, 74 RBI, and 74 runs scored. He reached the 30-doubles mark for a third straight season.

Alfaro was obtained by the Phillies back at the 2015 MLB non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package from Texas in exchange for Cole Hamels. He broke into the big-leagues for a 2016 cup of coffee, then was called up in August 2017 and had remained with the Phillies ever since.

Over 143 games with the Phillies, Alfaro slashed .270/.327/.422 with 15 homers, 51 RBI, and 47 runs scored. He also struck out an alarming 179 times, or more than 35% of his 508 plate appearances.
A 20-year-old right-hander, Sanchez was the Phillies top prospect for the last year or so. He signed with the Phillies as an international free agent out of his native Dominican Republic back in February 2015.
Over four minor league seasons topping out a year ago at High-A Clearwater, Sanchez went 15-12 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.994 WHIP. He allowed just 177 hits over 221.1 innings with a 191/43 K:BB ratio.
Stewart was the Phillies pick in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Alabama high school. The 21-year-old southpaw from Huntsville, Alabama has gone 15-6 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.197 WHIP over 56 games, 40 of those starts, topping out at Low-A Lakewood last season. He has surrendered 206 hits over 239 innings with a 203/80 K:BB ratio.
Realmuto is said to be close friends with free agent Bryce Harper, whom the Phillies have been aggressively courting for months. This trade could well be a major signal to Harper that they are setting up their clubhouse to welcome the 26-year-old superstar outfielder.

If J.T. Realmuto comes to the Phillies it will cost them top prospect Sixto Sanchez

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J.T. Realmuto is considered the top catcher in baseball today

It has been reported for days now that the Philadelphia Phillies have become one of a number of teams talking to the Miami Marlins regarding a trade for all-star J.T. Realmuto.

The catcher will turn 28-years-old on March 18, right in the middle of spring training. An Oklahoma native, Realmuto was the Marlins choice in the third round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school.
He reached Major League Baseball for a cup of coffee with the Fish in the 2010 season, and then became the club’s starting catcher the following season.
Last season, Realmuto emerged as a National League all-star for the first time, won the NL Silver Slugger Award for catchers, and became universally regarded as the top backstop in the game.

His numbers during that 2018 campaign included a .277/.340/.484 slash line with 21 home runs, 74 RBI, 74 RBI. It was his third consecutive season producing 30 or more doubles. Fangraphs statistical compilations reveal him to also be one of the top defensive catchers in the game today.
This afternoon, Marlins insider Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that in order to actually land Realmuto, the Phillies would have to include top prospect Sixto Sanchez in any deal.

Though it was unable to be confirmed by Frisaro, it is also believed that the Marlins would want catcher Jorge Alfaro as part of the package. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and CEO Derek Jeter are believed to be examining the Phillies minor league system for a possible third piece to the return package.
Frisaro reports that Miami would ideally like to get a deal done before their pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 13.
However, he also notes that all players on the club’s 40-man roster are required to attend Marlins Fest, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday and “it would be uncomfortable to have Realmuto at the ballpark if he is on the verge of being traded.
Realmuto is signed through 2020, so the Phillies would have him for at least two full seasons. They would almost assuredly try to extend that deal by at least a couple of years at some point. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a formal request to speak with Realmuto’s agent Jeff Berry regarding an extension prior to their own trade talks, a request that was denied by Miami. Any such talks would happen after the catcher is in a Phillies uniform.

A deal for Realmuto would likely not be the last move by the Phillies, who are still front-runners for the services of free agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. A Realmuto trade might actually be a signal that the club truly believes that they are going to land one of the young free agent studs and will be going all-in to contend right away in the coming season.
If that is indeed the plan and the Phillies feel sure that they will acquire one of the big fishes, then adding this particular Fish star makes sense. Sanchez is indeed an elite prospect, but the Phillies would be getting the top catcher in all of baseball in the prime of his career.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly one of the other major players in a Realmuto deal with Miami. Assuming Frisaro is correct in his timing on such a deal, you can expect something will come together quickly. And with the Phillies scheduled to officially open their own spring training camp next week, we should be getting a lot of big, important news very soon.