The Phillies newest star could be going off fantasy draft boards early
The 2018 season was a rough one for not just the Phillies catchers, but all catchers across the league both in real life and especially in fantasy.
Aside from about the top four catchers, the rest basically produced like streamers. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was one of those four productive fantasy players, in fact in ESPN points leagues he was the best catcher.
In 2018 Realmuto slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, 74 RBIs, and a handful of stolen bases.
It is hard to estimate the draft position of Realmuto because the position is so weak around him, but Realmuto should be the first or second catcher off the board in standard leagues. Judging his home/road splits from last season it is easy to see why Realmuto is primed to an even higher level offensively this season.
Thirty-seven of Realmuto’s career home runs are on the road, which is one of the reasons his OPS is 170 points higher on the road than it was at Marlins Park.
To go along with that, his average jumps from .245 at home versus an impressive .304 on the road.
I fully expect Realmuto to have an explosion of power at Citizens Bank Park, and he even talked about the potential difference from his new home to his old home.
"“I tried to do too much in Marlins Park, which over time can cause problems. Playing in a more hitter-friendly park will help.”"
Realmuto has 103 career at-bats in Citizen’s Bank Park with four home runs and 13 RBIs, as well as an OPS of 110 points higher than at Marlins Park.
The projections from PECOTA, Baseball Reference, and Fangraph’s Steamer continue to be super conservative when it comes to Phillies projections, and it doesn’t look like they took in the changing of home ballparks in Realmuto’s case.
Baseball Reference is the most conservative, only projecting 16 home runs and a .277/.335/.450 slash line. PECOTA is a slight bump in power and other hitting numbers with 18 home runs and a slash line that looks like .281/.342/.458.
Steamer is the highest power projection, 22 home runs 27 doubles, but the lowest overall batting numbers, projecting only a .269 batting average.
When the season is all said and done, these projections will most likely look horrendous. In his new ballpark, Realmuto should be more than capable of launching 25-30 homers, and hitting around the .300 line, if not slightly over.
Realmuto was the best fantasy catcher last season, and both he and Yasmani Grandal (his only competition for the top spot) moved to more hitter-friendly parks.
If you can grab Realmuto after already adding an elite bat and arm, and one or two more complimentary pieces before him, your fantasy team will be in great shape.