Former Carl Albert All-State baseball player J.T. Realmuto was called up by the Miami Marlins from Double-A Jacksonville, and is making the most of his time in the big leagues.
The 23-year-old catcher made his MLB debut June 5, but he hasn't always been behind the plate. Fox Sports wrote about how Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek first scouted Realmuto, primarily a shortstop in high school, in a game at catcher in his senior season for the Titans.
The Marlins were impressed enough with his potential behind the plate to draft him in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Realmuto, who has batted .333 with four RBIs in three games for the Marlins this season, said the conversion to catching full time wasn't an easy one.
"Parts of it felt natural, parts of it not so much," Realmuto told Fox Sports. "As far as the receiving, catching, all that was pretty simple and came naturally. When it came to blocking and game-calling -- that stuff I had to learn. It took me a year, two years to learn all that stuff. That was tough."
Realmuto got the call up when Marlins starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was placed on the DL with a concussion May 31.
In 46 games with Double-A Jacksonville, Realmuto was batting .301 with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers and 31 RBI. He had thrown out 46 percent would-be basestealers, giving Marlins manager Mike Redmond confidence that Realmuto could come in as a backup to veteran Jeff Mathis.
"I think we feel like right now, he's the guy who, in the short term, we think he can come up and do a good job," Redmond said when the announcement was made. "We hope that Salty is just a short-term deal, but you never know with a concussion. So right now J.T. is a good fit. He's playing well, he's swinging the bat extremely well and we're glad to have him."