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Realmuto selected to 1st All-Star team

Catcher a reserve on NL squad, lone Marlins representative
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

WASHINGTON -- One of the best kept secrets in the Majors is finally getting his All-Star due.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been a budding star for years, on Sunday was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time. The 27-year-old will be the organization's lone representative in the Midsummer Classic.

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WASHINGTON -- One of the best kept secrets in the Majors is finally getting his All-Star due.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been a budding star for years, on Sunday was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time. The 27-year-old will be the organization's lone representative in the Midsummer Classic.

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"It feels nice to finally break that barrier," Realmuto said. "It's definitely been a dream of mine, obviously, my whole life to play in an All-Star Game. It's something I'm definitely going to cherish and look forward to."

On the day the rosters were announced, Realmuto made a statement with a career-high five hits in the Marlins' 10-2 win over the Nationals at Nationals Park, which is where the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be played on Tuesday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Video: MIA@WSH: Realmuto tallies 5 singles and 3 RBIs

"You could have said J.T. was All-Star-worthy with what he did at the beginning of last season, and for him to earn it this year is a great accomplishment," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You have heard me say that he has been one of the best catchers in the game for a while now, and for him to finally be recognized is a testament to the job he has done not just this year, but over his career."

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After opening the season on the 10-day disabled list with a low back bruise, Realmuto has produced impressive numbers, slashing .317/.368/.551 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.

"I've tried to get better and be more rounded everywhere," Realmuto said. "Being more mentally prepared is something that has helped me out a lot this year. It kind of slows the game down. I feel like that has helped me offensively and defensively."

A quiet leader, Realmuto is the face of the franchise, and he's recognized as one of the most athletic catchers in the game. He has the Statcast™ data to prove it. His average pop time on throws to second base on steal attempts is 1.88 seconds (second best in the Majors). And his throwing velocity to second averages 87.6 mph, which is second in the NL.

Tweet from @LewisBrinson: Congrats to the best catcher in the game @JTRealmuto on his first all star game selection! Well deserved!

"This has been a couple of years coming where he's been really working and building that resume," Marlins right-hander Dan Straily said. "It is much more than what you've done this year. You've got to have recognition, you've got to have people know who you are in this game to become an All-Star and be recognized in that capacity. He's definitely earned it."

Video: Realmuto to represent Marlins at 2018 All-Star Game

The Marlins' third-round Draft pick in 2010, Realmuto is the third Marlins catcher to be an All-Star. Charles Johnson (1997, 2001) and Paul Lo Duca (2005) were the others.

In most major statistical categories, an argument can be made that Realmuto has thus far enjoyed the best first half of any big league catcher. His FanGraphs WAR of 3.2 ranks first at his position, as does his 142 wRC+ and .381 wOBA.

Fans can cast votes for the final player on each league's roster -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online as part of the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote, as well as via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps, until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com 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, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

A native of Del City, Okla., Realmuto was a multiple sport athlete at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla. He was a standout football player, who turned down an opportunity to play quarterback at Oklahoma State University. In baseball, he played shortstop but was converted to catcher in his first year of pro ball.

Receiving word that he's an All-Star comes at an exciting time because his wife, Alexis, is expecting their first child in a matter of days.

"It's crazy," Realmuto said. "Getting five hits today and being told I've made the All-Star team, and none of that compares with the fact I'm going to have a child in the next day or two. Definitely an exciting week for me, to say the least."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto