Realmuto’s Trade Jury 3 Years After


By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

For the Philadelphia Phillies faithful, when will there be a determination of the swap of Sixto Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro for JT Realmuto? Well, after Realmuto had played for the Fightins, and Alfaro had donned a Miami Marlins uniform, Sanchez toed the slab beginning in 2020 for the Fish. Two more summers required?   


Deliberations to Date:

If it takes five campaigns of review before baseball experts can determine a winner, three –or 60 percent– of those is enough to draw basic conclusions. But some Phillies fans, though, will express disappointment with Realmuto’s offense and bemoan the loss of a potential ace for under $1 million this 162.     


“Trial by jury is the palladium of our liberties. I do not know what a palladium is, but I am sure it is a good thing!” – Mark Twain

Before the 2019 season, many franchises had been reluctant to meet the Marlins’ asking price for Realmuto, but the red pinstripes made an acceptable proposal with Sanchez and Alfaro. Yes, a 20-year-old fireballer and a top catching prospect with some MLB offensive success had realistic potential.                    

Sanchez was the centerpiece for Miami to part with their star receiver, but the hurler had yet to succeed at Double-A: a yardstick for big league ability if his mind could handle it. For Single-A Advanced, however, he had recorded a 4-3 mark with a 2.51 ERA, but for the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate he went 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA in ‘19.   

To the Marlins:

Although Sanchez’s numbers for ‘20 appear solid, his 3-2 record with a 3.46 ERA is misleading. Basically, he had no difficulty the first time he faced another club, but the second time was the exact opposite. He was 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA in the first game but was 0-2 with an 11.70 ERA in other contests with control problems.              

Sixto Sanchez, 23.5:

  • 2018: 8 Gms., 46 ⅔ Inn., 4-3 and a 2.51 ERA (Phillies Single-A Advanced)
  • 2019: 18 Double-A Gms., 103 Inn., 8-4 and a 2.53 ERA.
  • 2020: 7 Gms., 39 Inn., 3-2, a 3.46 ERA and a 1.0 fWAR.
  • fWAR: FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.

Sanchez, 2020:

  • First starts: 6 Gms., 37 Inn., 12 R, 12 ER, 3-1, a 2.92 ERA with 35 SO and 7 BB.
  • Other starts: 3 Gms., 10 Inn., 13 R, 13 ER, 0-2, an 11.70 ERA with 6 SO and 9 BB.
  • 9 Games including the postseason.
  • Vs. Braves: 6 Inn., 0 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB and 1-0.
  • 2nd Game: 3 Inn., 4 ER, 2 SO, 4 BB and 0-0.
  • Total: 9 Inn., 4 ER, 8 SO, 5 BB and 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA.
  • Vs. Nationals: 5 Inn., 3 ER, 4 SO, 0 BB and 1-0.
  • 2nd Game: 4 Inn., 5 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB and 0-1.
  • Total: 9 Inn., 8 ER, 6 SO, 2 BB and 1-1 with an 8.00 ERA.

Last summer, Sanchez had shoulder discomfort leading to surgery on July 20, but shoulder injuries can be a flashing red light. So he’ll probably have an innings limit after only 39 frames in 2020, plus Miami already has five young starters. And though he may be ready, proceeding slowly is probable before he’s in the Show again. 

Including Alfaro in the deal was also important because he was the young backstop to immediately replace Realmuto. But although he had averaged .262 for the Phils with 10 home runs, many baseball men expected a 15-25 range due to his strength. So, he had to reach his offensive potential because of his defensive shortcomings.     

In Alfaro’s first 162 with the Marlins, he again hit .262 but also launched 18 bombs. However, his glovework showed little improvement: He was frequently committing the same mistakes he had made with the Phillies. But his success in 2019 could have been just a solid first impression for his third organization.  

Jorge Alfaro, 28.5:

  • 2018: 108 Gms., 377 PA, a .262 Avg., 10 HR, 37 RBI, a .731 OPS, a 3.2 fWAR and a 95 wRC+ (5% offensive production under 100: average mark for the Phillies).
  • 2019: 130 Gms., 465 PA, a .262 Avg., 18 HR, 57 RBI, a .736 OPS, a 1.3 fWAR and a 95 wRC+ (5% offensive production under 100: average mark).
  • 2020: 31 Gms., 100 PA, a .226 Avg., 3 HR, 16 RBI, a .624 OPS, a -0.3 fWAR and a 70 wRC+ (30% offensive production under 100: average mark).
  • 2021: 92 Gms., 311 PA, a .244 Avg., 4 HR, 30 RBI, a .625 OPS, a 0.6 fWAR and a 73 wRC+ (27% offensive production under 100: average mark).
  • fWAR: FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.

For pandemic-influenced ‘20, Alfaro had only 100 plate appearances for 31 games. Realistically, the Fish had seven doubleheaders, so he probably appeared in 31 of 43 contests. But he dropped to a .226 average with only three homers and 16 RBIs for a third of a campaign, projecting to nine long balls and 48 RBIs.          

Last year, Alfaro missed 6-7 weeks due to left hamstring and left calf strains, but hitting .244 for an offensive catcher with only four round-trippers limits opportunities. But if he lacked confidence based on 2020’s statistics, he may be able to thrive again with a change of scenery. So, they moved him! 

To the Phillies:

Most hurlers have increased confidence if they work with a strong defensive batterymate: pitch calling, excellent glovework, a running-game stopper, and pitch framing to steal some calls. In baseball, catching is a premium position and the list of the best is short.     

Realmuto is more than just an all-around receiver. Basically, he’ll bat .265-.280 with 20-25 four-baggers and 75-85 RBIs. But being fresh or in a pennant race reveals a noticeable uptick in his offensive production. Ergo, he could be at his best in the playoffs, and hopefully 2022 will be his time to shine.  

Even though his stats for his first Phils’ season showed more home runs and RBIs in a friendlier home park, he appeared to have better numbers ahead. In ‘20, he only played 47 games and produced 11 homers and 32 RBIs for a third of a summer: This projects to 33 bombs and 96 RBIs when he’s fresh. 

JT Realmuto, almost 31:

  • 2018: 125 Gms., 531 PA, a .277 Avg., 21 HR, 74 RBI, an .825 OPS, a 4.9 fWAR and a 127 wRC+ (27% offensive production over 100: average mark for the Marlins).
  • 2019: 145 Gms., 593 PA, a .275 Avg., 25 HR, 83 RBI, an .820 OPS, a 5.7 fWAR and a 107 wRC+ (7% offensive production over 100: average mark).
  • 2020: 47 Gms., 195 PA, a .266 Avg., 11 HR, 32 RBI, an .840 OPS, a 1.7 fWAR and a 124 wRC+ (24% offensive production over 100: average mark).
  • 2021: 134 Gms., 537 PA, a .263 Avg., 17 HR, 73 RBI, a .782 OPS, a 4.4 fWAR and a 108 wRC+ (8% offensive production over 100: average mark).
  • fWAR: FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.

Going from 60 contests to a full 162, Realmuto had respectable 2021 stats despite COVID-19 and an increased workload. But after he had already played 84 games, Realmuto hit .279 with 6 long balls and 31 RBIs: 93 RBIs for a full campaign. So, he’s ready for stretch-drive battles. 

According to a retired American League general manager in pre-coronavirus days, a potential star makes an impact in or after his third year. Therefore, Alfaro traded to the San Diego Padres for cash or a later-named player has likely revealed his ceiling if he’s a regular.         

Sanchez has only started nine total games, and 105 contests is the rule of thumb for three and a half seasons. On the positive side, he’s young with a 98.8-mph heater touching 100.9 mph. However, he’s already having injuries and shoulder problems are a caution flag.  

Rookie Campaigns for Aces:

Cole Hamels, 22, Phillies:

  • MLB 2006: 23 Gms., 132 ⅓ Inn., 9-8, a 4.08 ERA and a 2.6 fWAR.
  • AAA 2006: 3 Gms., 23 Inn., a 0.39 ERA and a 7.7 Inn. Avg. per start.

Tim Lincecum, 23, Giants: 

  • MLB 2007: 24 Gms., 146 ⅓ Inn., 7-5, a 4.00 ERA and a 3.0 fWAR.
  • AAA 2007: 5 Gms., 31 Inn., a 0.29 ERA and a 6.2 Inn. Avg. per start.
  • fWAR: FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.


Sixto Sanchez, 21 in 2018:

  • 2018: 8 Gms., 46 ⅔ Inn., 4-3 and a 2.51 ERA (Phillies Single-A Advanced)
  • 2019: 18 Double-A Gms., 103 Inn., 8-4 and a 2.53 ERA.

For the Marlins, they have an if with only 18 Double-A starts and nine MLB outings including the postseason, and opponents figured him out after only one performance. Plus his healthy MiLB numbers indicate a two-slot arm. Meanwhile, what did the Fightins receive for an if? A gem!                



World Series Ifs for 2022