After a whole year of endless speculation, “momentum,” and no deals, the Marlins finally agreed to trade J.T. Realmuto on Thursday afternoon. Going to Miami are RHP Sixto Sanchez, C Jorge Alfaro, LHP Will Stewart and $250,000 in international bonus slot money. The deal is now official.
The Miami Marlins have acquired catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-handed pitcher Sixto Sánchez, left-handed pitcher Will Stewart and international bonus pool money from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher J.T. Realmuto.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) February 7, 2019
Welcome to Miami, gentlemen! pic.twitter.com/czlpQGEYsy
The process was mentally and emotionally exhausting for fans, and despite fears the Marlins would have to settle for a less than likable return, they defied those expectations and acquired a strong haul.
On the Phillies side, they are receiving a great catcher, hitter and most importantly, a great leader. The acquisition of J.T. Realmuto should put them as an early favorite to win the NL East.
Realmuto’s numbers will jump as he’ll be moving to a hitter friendly Citizen’s Bank Park and will be surrounded by an elite level lineup. A lineup that could even have Bryce Harper or Manny Machado in the near future. In Philadelphia, I have Realmuto tabbed as an early season NL MVP candidate.
Sanchez is the headliner of this deal. He is 20 y/o, and while not close to the major leagues yet, he is the highest ranking prospect the Marlins have had since Christian Yelich and José Fernández.
Earlier this week, our sister site The Good Phight placed Sanchez as the consensus No. 1 talent that Philly’s system had to offer. All the hype around him is legit.
In acquiring Sanchez, the Marlins now have their next ace in line. A void that has yet to be truly filled since the passing of fan-favorite, Jose Fernandez. He features a huge triple digits fastball along with a heavy two-seamer, and two above average to plus secondary pitches in his curveball and change up. He is currently 27th and 13th on MLB Pipeline’s and Baseball America’s top 100 prospect lists, respectively.
Alfaro is who I see as a wild card in this deal. Once a highly touted prospect (ranking as high as 39th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list), Alfaro offers the Marlins a unique situation. He is major league ready, can handle the young staff, and has HUGE untapped potential. In his first full season in the big leagues he hit .262 with 10 HRs and 37 RBI.
While on the surface that is great for a catcher, some regression could be expected since his strike-out percentage sat at a massive 36% with a .406 BABIP. The BABIP will come down, but considering his ability to make hard contact at rates similar to guys like Machado, it should remain relatively high.
Kinda interesting: Per Baseball Savant, Jorge Alfaro had the same average exit velocity in 2018 (91.6 mph) as Manny Machado.— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) February 7, 2019
With that said, the Marlins are receiving a catcher with some experience, a huge arm at catcher, and plus-plus raw power at the plate. He was also able to lower his strikeout rate from a 38% to 34% and raise his walk rate from 4% to 6% among other stats from the first to the second half of last season. The Marlins should expect further improvement out of the 25 y/o Colombian catcher. He has all the tools to be an elite hitting catcher.
Trade piece Jorge Alfaro made major improvements in 2nd half of '18.— Mac Squibb (@SquibberStats) February 7, 2019
1H / 2H
K%: 38.3% / 33.6%
BB%: 4.1% / 6%
wRC+: 84 / 117
xwOBA: .269 / .343
EV on FB/LD: 93.6 mph / 96 mph
FB%: 24.4% / 37.5%
Marlins are getting great defensive C w/ budding offensive ability pic.twitter.com/v5OcWEhtb5
The third player in this deal is 21 y/o LHP Will Stewart. While he doesn’t carry the prospect hype Sanchez and Alfaro have or once had, he made huge strides this past season in class-A with a 2.06 ERA through 113 2/3 innings with 90 strike-outs and only 21 walks.
Impressive outing by #Phillies LHP Will Stewart. 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB. FB 88-92 w/ projectable life and late run, very advanced control/command. SL 82-83 w/ long slant that's tougher on LHH; CH 82-84 w/ consistent dive; wrinkles in mid-70s CB. Sum-of-parts #5 ceiling w/ hi floor— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 7, 2018
International Bonus Slot Money
The last piece of this deal is the $250,000 in bonus allotment. After spending most of their 2018-19 pool on the Mesa brothers this offseason ($6.25 million total for those two), the Marlins acquire more.
Perhaps their target is Yolbert Sanchez, a 22 y/o free agent Cuban shortstop who was just cleared earlier in the week to sign with any Major League team.
With Yolbert Sanchez now eligible to sign with an #MLB club, here's where the 21-year-old Cuban SS lands on our list of the Top 30 international prospects for the 2018-19 signing period: https://t.co/kSMdylzsGi pic.twitter.com/jacA99po8V— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 6, 2019
On behalf of Fish Stripes, thank you to J.T. Realmuto for all the great memories. And good luck in Philadelphia. And a warm welcome to all the new Marlins. The future is bright in Miami.
Thank you for reading, until next time.