Phillies: Five position players to watch in spring training
The Big Kahuna of the offseason (to date)! After four full years at the Major League level, he has proven himself to be the best all-around catcher in the game.
In 2018, Realmuto had the highest wins Above Replacement (WAR) of any catcher in the league while hitting 21 home runs with an On-Base+Slugging % (OPS) of 0.825. He led the Majors in seven offensive categories for catchers, which earned him his first All-Star appearance and Silver Slugger Award.
Defensively, he has ranked in the top 10 in caught stealing percentage all four years, being in the top five for three of them.
While I know J.T. probably won’t play much until the end of the spring training circuit, I’m really only interested in one thing from him: catcher-pitcher relationship. Especially between J.T. and Aaron Nola. After Nola’s dominant 2018 at age 25, and J.T. coming to Philly at age 27, these two have a chance to be the next Doc–Ruiz for at least the next two years.
I have no worries about what Realmuto brings to the game itself; he’s the best catcher in baseball. But I want him to develop that type of bond with Nola where they just give each other a look, and they know. His bond with the other pitchers is imperative as well, but the ace needs to be the priority.