The Philadelphia Phillies have a significant amount of catching talent in their system, and no one is talking about it
The Phillies do have something that other MLB teams desperately need: catchers. Last week, veteran sportswriter Peter Gammons, now of The Athletic (subscription required) about the lack of quality catchers around the majors, and how teams are attempting to solve that problem.
For once, we get to discuss a problem the Phillies do not have; what a refreshing change of pace for a club rife with problems.
At the big-league level, the Phillies have J.T. Realmuto, an All-Star catcher nicknamed BCIB (Best Catcher In Baseball). Realmuto primarily played shortstop in high school, until a Miami Marlins scout encouraged him to make catching his focus, as it would improve his big-league chances. His five-year contract and 2021 All-Star season speak to his prowess behind the dish.
In November, the Phillies acquired Garrett Stubbs from the Astros. Across his professional career, he has a 41% caught-stealing rate and has been praised for his framing rates. They also have Rafael Marchan, who made his debut in 2020 and has shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors.
Then, there’s the farm system, which finally improved in rankings this year after five straight years of steep decline. The Phillies have Logan O’Hoppe (11th), Rickardo Perez (12th), and the newly-acquired Donny Sands (26th) in their Top 30. Their new farm director, Preston Mattingly, is particularly jazzed by O’Hoppe, who was MLB’s Phillies Breakout Prospect of the Year in 2021.
And that’s just in their Top 30.
So, while other MLB teams are turning players into catchers, the Phillies organization is overflowing with them. This means that the Phillies actually have something other teams want, a rare advantage for this disadvantaged franchise. According to Gammons, the Phillies have more trade chips than people think.
It’s worth noting that Gammons does not mention the Phillies once in his piece. The only time Realmuto gets mentioned is in the context of Yadier Molina, which is interesting, considering he devotes a significant portion of the article to discussing catchers who switch positions and vice versa. In short, the Phillies are undervalued once again.
Being undervalued is fine; let everyone be surprised. While other clubs scramble to create catchers, the Phillies are, for once, all set.