SAN DIEGO -- Word has been out for a few years now that J.T. Realmuto is one of the top catchers in the game. Still, the 27-year-old has yet to receive much star treatment.• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot That may change in 2018, as Realmuto is once
SAN DIEGO -- Word has been out for a few years now that J.T. Realmuto is one of the top catchers in the game. Still, the 27-year-old has yet to receive much star treatment.
• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
That may change in 2018, as Realmuto is once again making a strong case to become an All-Star for the first time. The Marlins catcher is one of eight position players from the club on the ballot, with voting launching on Friday.
"He's one of the best in the league," Miami second baseman Starlin Castro said of Realmuto. "He's been consistent all year, so far. I'm hitting behind him, and seeing him every day, I love his approach. He is fighting from the first at-bat until the end of the game."
Along with Realmuto, Marlins regulars on the ballot are first baseman Justin Bour, Castro, shortstop Miguel Rojas, third baseman Martin Prado and outfielders Lewis Brinson, Brian Anderson and Derek Dietrich.
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Along with Realmuto, Castro is worthy of All-Star consideration. He's been an All-Star four times and could make a case for a fifth appearance. Rojas, in his first season playing regularly, has been one of the most improved players in the National League. He's steady at the plate and has shown power with a career-high seven home runs. Rojas has also been a standout in the field. Prado is on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Bour is a power threat who was a fan favorite in last year's Home Run Derby. Anderson, a rookie, opened the season at third base, but is now playing regularly in right field, where he's already showcased a strong arm. At the plate, he is a middle-of-the-order impact hitter.
Realmuto is regarded as one of the most athletic catchers in the game. Recently, he threw out speedy Mets shortstop Amed Rosario trying to steal second base. Realmuto's pop time was 1.76 seconds, the fastest on a caught stealing ever tracked by Statcast™, which launched in 2015.
At San Diego on Wednesday against the Padres, Realmuto showed his quickness and strong throwing arm by making a remarkable play to get speedy Travis Jankowski, who attempted to bunt for a hit. Jankowski made it from home to first in 3.58 seconds, according to Statcast™, the sixth-fastest time this season. But Realmuto, who made a throw clocked at 81.2 mph, got him.
"I saw J.T. Realmuto for two years in Jacksonville," said Padres manager Andy Green, who previously managed at Mobile in the Double-A Southern League. "It was obvious he was going to be really good. He's one of the most athletic catchers in the game. Running, throwing, catching -- he's an incredible athlete. There's a very short list of guys capable of making that play."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.