Jarrod Saltalamacchia's bat has come to life of late, and Jeff Mathis has been a solid backup behind the plate. But the Marlins could still look to add another backstop when rosters expand on September 1.
After a brief stint with the major league club earlier in the year, J.T. Realmuto is posting solid offensive numbers with Double-A Jacksonville and would give the Marlins and Manager Mike Redmond depth late in games.
Realmuto is Miami's seventh best prospect according to MLB.com, and posted a .200/.238/.200 batting line in seven games with the Marlins while Saltalamacchia was on the disabled list.
Realmuto, the Marlins' No. 7 prospect according to MLB.com, has had two brief stints with the big league club this season, going 4-for-20 with five RBIs in seven games. But the former high school quarterback has made huge offensive strides at the Double-A level this season, raising his average from .239 in 2013 to .298 this year.
And considering the Marlins' willingness to let him jump Triple-A twice this season, Realmuto seems like a prime callup candidate.
Through 90 games, Realmuto's 61 RBIs, 61 runs, five triples and 17 stolen bases lead all Southern League catchers.
After Saltamacchia's production and defense were both questioned, Realmuto was thought to be an option moving forward. While Realmuto's bat continued to develop, one National League scout noted the switch-hitting catcher's swing was too long and that more was expected from the free agent acquisition.
Redmond told reporters on Friday he has a desire to add another catcher, and Realmuto appears to be the most reliable and realistic option. Mathis has done a nice job calling games and has been efficient with runners on base. But with Saltalamacchia's bat appearing to come around, the amount of playing time Realmuto would get is questionable.
As the Marlins are still in the hunt for one of two wild card spots, it is logical and expected that Redmond would continue to use both Saltalamacchia and Mathis consistently. Saltalamacchia has driven in 40 runs in 90 games, and Mathis had an RBI double in a start against the Rockies over the weekend and has received notably positive feedback from a young pitching staff.
Realmuto may get a few starts if he is called upon in September, but it would take an injury or another offensive slump for the young catcher to see the playing time he needs to grow. Realmuto has also seen time with Triple-A New Orleans, and is already on the 40-man roster. He may add another bat, which the Marlins are seeking, but limited playing time could disrupt his development.