Phillies: 8 milestones to watch for this season
J.T. Realmuto: 100 home runs
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is looking for a major payday after losing his arbitration hearing this offseason. If the long-term deal isn’t struck before opening day, Realmuto will be going into 2020 looking to prove he deserves a record-setting deal for a catcher.
Entering his sixth full-time season as a big league player Realmuto has set career highs in home runs in every season he’s played. Last year he hit 25, leading to MVP votes and a Silver Slugger award.
Going into 2020, Realmuto needs just 16 more home runs to reach 100 in his career.
Realmuto would be the 79th catcher (minimum 60% of games played at the position) to hit 100 home runs. Another career-year would push him into the top-50
Right now Baseball Reference projects Realmuto to fall just short of his single-season career-high 25 home runs with just 22, but it would still push him over the centennial mark for his young career.
As mentioned earlier regarding Jay Bruce, the prospect of the designated hitter coming to the National League would greatly boost Realmuto’s longevity and help put him on track for a Hall of Fame career. He’d have to hit about 300 home runs as a catcher to make a legitimate case for Cooperstown.
Right now there are 12 catchers with at least 242 home runs while playing 60% of their games behind the plate, all of whom have played since the 1950s. All but four (Javy Lopez, Jorge Posada, Brian McCann, Lance Parrish) are in the Hall of Fame. Posada received just 3.8% in 2017 and McCann will have his day on the ballot in a couple of years.
Realmuto would need to have several productive years to reach that range, averaging 25 home runs a year for eight seasons to reach 284 home runs. At that point, he’d have more than 2020 inductee Ted Simmons and be right behind Ivan Rodriguez.