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Shuffle Up: J.T. Realmuto, Miami's last star

J.T. Realmuto will be in trade discussions all summer (AP)

The Shuffle Up season rolls on. Today, we tackle the catchers, the maddening catchers.

The numbers don’t matter in a vacuum; what matters is how the player prices relate to one another. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always. Everyone listed here has catcher eligibility in the Yahoo game at the current time. Players at the same cost are considered even. I’m not ranking the injured guys; it just becomes a silly game of “Who has the most injury optimism?”

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And I’m not a doctor. (Somebody get me a doctor.)

Have some disagreements? Have some major disagreements? That’s good! That’s why we have a game. I welcome your respectful disagreement, anytime: @scott_pianowski on Twitter.

Everything to this point is an audition, that’s it. If you want a ranking of who’s been the best to this point, you can get that elsewhere.

$20 J.T. Realmuto
$20 Gary Sanchez
$16 Buster Posey
$14 Salvador Perez
$14 Willson Contreras
$14 Yasmani Grandal
$13 Wilson Ramos

It’s partially shielded by the early injury, but Realmuto is having a career year at age 27. All his slash lines would be career bests, and his 140 OPS+ is 29 points higher than his best previous mark. Walks creeping up, strikeouts nudging down, hard-hit rate easily the highest of his career. I’d love to see him on a contender, in a real lineup, in a park that didn’t suppress offense (it was a 16 percent tax, per the Bill James Handbook, in 2016-2017). Answer the phone, Miami. Someone else needs your last real veteran star.

Posey is going to be a professional hitter until the day he retires, but the pop is missing again. He’s slugging just .431, his worst slugging percentage in seven years. On the road, he’s carrying a .245/.300/.336 slash. I think Posey is an eyelash away from being a Hall of Fame (he’ll eventually push over the threshold), and he’s long been one of my favorites. But he’s no longer an emphatic difference maker for fantasy. He’s also a much better real-life player than fantasy one, in part because his elegant pitch framing does not help him for roto purposes (though the Giants pitchers sure appreciate it).

$11 Evan Gattis
$11 Francisco Cervelli
$11 Yadier Molina
$10 Mike Zunino
$7 Brian McCann
$6 Robinson Chirinos
$6 Tyler Flowers
$5 John Hicks
$5 Max Stassi
$5 Kurt Suzuki
$5 Russell Martin

When they ask Gattis what position he plays, he should say “hitter.” The Astros tend to agree. But nine homers over the last 83 at-bats, that marks his spot in the lineup. Gattis doesn’t have jagged platoon splits for his career, but the average jumps 20 points, and the slugging rises 25 points. His Houston-versus-elsewhere slugging percentage is only four points different — essentially a wash. That goes to show you how misunderstood that park really is; over the last three years, it was neutral for homers and a nine-point tax for scoring.

A .366 BABIP is driving much of Hicks’s surprising average, but he’s also hitting the ball hard 41.5 percent of the time. The strikeouts are messy and he’s chasing almost 40 percent of the time out of the zone, so you worry about a correction. But in this messy year of catching, a regular backstop who’s producing and playing a lot has to be considered some kind of an asset.

$4 John Ryan Murphy
$4 Devin Mesoraco
$3 Austin Romine
$3 Martin Maldonado
$3 Jorge Alfaro
$3 Tucker Barnhart
$3 Jonathan Lucroy
$2 Yan Gomes
$2 Chris Iannetta
$2 James McCann
$2 Austin Barnes
$1 Nick Hundley
$1 Manny Pina
$1 Luke Maile
$1 Christian Vazquez
$1 Chance Sisco
$0 Sandy Leon
$0 Rafael Lopez
$0 Tony Wolters
$-1 Alex Avila