April 24, 2024

Can J.T. Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs regain their 2022 form?

To establish the best-case scenario for the Phillies at catcher, simply look back to the 2022 season, when they had probably the strongest combination in the game. Most commentators still rated J.T. Realmuto as baseball’s finest catcher, with Garrett Stubbs serving as a good backup.

This was not the case in 2023. Realmuto wasn’t bad, but his offensive and defense were off, and Adley Rutchsman took the “BCIB” title. His inability to hit with runners on base was a recurring theme throughout the season, and it seemed like every time he came to the plate with a runner on first, a ground ball double play was on the way. It appears that the drop is attributable to his age (he will be 33 years old this season) and the large number of innings he has played in recent seasons.

 

J.T. Realmuto placed on COVID-19 injured list

 

Spring Training wouldn’t be complete without stories about players who claim to have found the root reason of a dismal season and are taking steps to correct it. However, Realmuto believes he is on track to have a better season at the plate.

 

Garrett Stubbs - Jewish Baseball Museum

We’ll see if that hard work pays off, or if we’ll be complaining when it’s mid-May and he leads the league with double plays.

In terms of defense, it was predicted that the new rules would minimize his ability to throw out prospective base stealers, but his poor framing performance was unexpected.

We’ll see if that hard work pays off, or if we’ll be complaining when it’s mid-May and he leads the league with double plays.

In terms of defense, it was predicted that the new rules would minimize his ability to throw out prospective base stealers, but his poor framing performance was unexpected.

 

But it would be good if he could avoid being a zero at the plate. Major league backup catchers aren’t known for their batting abilities, but his.557 OPS in 2023 didn’t justify increasing his playing time.

In 2022, we learned that Stubbs is capable of more. He had a.350 on-base percentage, five home runs, and was worth 1.1 wins above replacement in only 46 games.

If Stubbs fails to hit, the Phillies may have a backup plan. Rafael Marchan appeared briefly with the major league squad in 2020 and 2021. He did not play in the major leagues for the previous two seasons, but after returning from a hamate injury early in 2023, he posted an OPS of.831 at AAA and hit well in the Winter League.
He was given another option year in 2024, but this will be his final one, so the team will take a close look at him throughout camp. If such offensive performances translate to the major leagues, he might eventually take over as Stubbs’ primary backup.

 

It may be unrealistic to expect a 33-year-old catcher to reverse the aging trend, and it may be wishful thinking to expect either Stubbs or Marchan to be reliable backups. However, if they can do it in 2022, the Phillies may once again be the National League’s best catching club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *