For most teams, we’re a quarter of the way through the Major League Baseball season, and right about at the point that teams can begin assessing what their prospects are. It’s also a point where we can review performances to date and look at who’s struggling and who’s starring for each team. Here, we’re going to be focusing on the players who have led their teams, no matter how the club is doing in the grand scheme of things.
Here is the best player for each MLB team so far in 2018.
Arizona Diamondbacks — A.J. Pollock, OF
A couple of pitchers have a case here, but in a year where the Arizona offense has been surprisingly underwhelming, Pollock has carried them. The outfielder is hitting .293 with 11 home runs and 10 doubles, easily pacing the team in OPS. Unfortunately he is expected to miss 4-8 weeks with a thumb injury, because he was working on a potential MVP season before that.
- A.J. Pollock, Aaron Judge, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Brandon Belt, Carlos Martinez, Eddie Rosario, Eric Hosmer, Francisco Cervelli, Francisco Lindor, Jacob deGrom, Jorge Soler, JT Realmuto, Justin Verlander, Kevin Pillar, Kris Bryant, Lorenzo Cain, Manny Machado, Max Scherzer, Mitch Haniger, Mookie Betts, Nick Castellanos, Nolan Arenado, Nomar Mazara, Ozzie Albies, Raisel Iglesias, Reynaldo Lopez, Sean Manaea, Shohei Ohtani, Yasmani Grandal
The New York Mets are dealing with an injury-induced catcher crisis, and could be forced into making a big trade to fix it.
Regular starter Travis d’Arnaud needs Tommy John surgery, while his backup, Kevin Plawecki, just landed on the disabled list with a broken hand. That has left the Mets in a very difficult spot.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets have reached out to the Miami Marlins regarding the availability of their catcher J.T. Realmuto.
The Mets have spoken to the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto. It would take a haul to land him, plus Realmuto has not played yet this season because of a back contusion. That said, the Marlins are rebuilding so maybe there is common ground that can be found.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) April 13, 2018
As Puma alludes to, this would not be a minor deal. Realmuto is a career .280 hitter with enough power to hit 15 to 20 home runs. He reportedly told the Marlins he wanted out during their offseason firesale, but nothing obviously came of it — likely because it will take a major prospect package to pry him away from Miami.
The Miami Marlins have gotten rid of nearly all of their top players, but one remains: JT Realmuto. Since the Marlins have cleaned house this offseason, it makes sense that teams have been asking about Realmuto. According to one report, the Houston Astros are among the teams to inquire about Realmuto.
SiriusXM MLB Network Radio’s Craig Mish reported on Saturday that the Astros have engaged the Marlins about Realmuto. He says the Marlins have asked for Houston prospect Kyle Tucker in return.
Source : Houston Astros have engaged in trade discussions for JT Realmuto. OF Kyle Tucker is the ask by Miami. Astros are considering. 50% chance Realmuto is dealt before opening day.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) February 10, 2018
FWIW on the Marlins side to be fair, team spokesman says Astros Information on my report is inaccurate. Respectfully disagree, but should be presented as their response.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) February 10, 2018
Realmuto, who is turning 27, is under team control through 2020, which makes him a valuable commodity. He batted .278 with 17 home runs last season, good for a career-best .783 OPS. The catcher reportedly requested a trade from the Marlins back in December.
- JT Realmuto
The Miami Marlins’ offseason of selling still may not be done.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Marlins and the Washington Nationals continue to discuss a possible trade involving catcher J.T. Realmuto. The Nationals, however, are said to be reluctant to part with their top prospects.
Sources: #Marlins, #Nationals remain in touch but have not made progress on a J.T. Realmuto trade. Thus far, Miami has asked for deal to include Victor Robles or Juan Soto; Nats have said no. (@JonHeyman first reported Robles as part of ask.) @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 5, 2018
Realmuto has reportedly been disillusioned with the direction of the Marlins over the offseason and has requested a trade. They are, understandably, asking a high price for a 26-year-old catcher who hit .278 a year ago. We’ll see if anyone pays up — or if the Marlins compromise a bit.
The Miami Marlins have already traded three of their top players this offseason, and two more could be on the move.
The Marlins remain in active trade talks surrounding Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
Sources: #Marlins engaged in “active trade discussions” with multiple teams regarding both Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto. Asking price on both players remains high; a trade is not imminent. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 28, 2017
The Marlins’ new ownership group is stripping down the team in an effort to slash payroll and rebuild. They got rid of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. Yelich and Realmuto are the two remaining valuable pieces of interest to other teams.
Yelich is set to earn a reasonable $43 million through 2021. The 26-year-old outfielder would be highly desirable to many teams. Realmuto, also 26, is under team control the next three seasons and likely is cheap enough where the Marlins could afford him.
The brakes may be on the Miami Marlins firesale.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, rivals feel the Marlins are “reluctant” to move outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto, though there is a desire to move Starlin Castro’s contract elsewhere.
marlins seem reluctant to trade yelich and/or realmuto to this point, rivals say. they are, however, trying to "attach" starlin castro in trade discussions, to move him.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 22, 2017
Financially, the Marlins have less incentive to move Yelich and Realmuto, who are much cheaper than Castro and Giancarlo Stanton. The added issue, though, is that both players are unhappy with the direction of the franchise. That said, one has to wonder if the backlash to the Marlins’ offseason so far could factor into any trade decisions.
The Miami Marlins have been selling off their more expensive players in order to build around their young, controllable core, but what happens when some of those up-and-coming stars decide they don’t want to stick around?
Craig Mish of SiriusXM Radio reported on Monday that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has informed the Marlins he wants to be traded. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic later confirmed the report.
Source : JT Realmuto has requested a trade from the Marlins.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 18, 2017
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 18, 2017
Realmuto, 26, is considered one of the best young catchers in baseball. He batted .278 with 17 home runs and 65 RBI last season in 141 games. The year before, Realmuto played in 137 games and batted .303.
Since he is under team control for another three seasons, the Marlins could likely demand a large haul in a trade for Realmuto. The fact that he wants out of Miami could decrease his market value slightly, but teams will still be willing to give up plenty. The Marlins have already been stock-piling prospects in trades involving Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, and they should be able to land a couple more if they deal Realmuto.