Garrett Stubbs makes case to steal playing time from JT Realmuto with epic clutch hit
Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs just made his case to take some of slumping J.T. Realmuto’s playing time with an epic walk-off home run
In an offseason and spring training filled with blockbuster Philadelphia Phillies signings, Garrett Stubbs’ arrival, via trade from the Houston Astros, was barely on the radar.
But in a very short time, he’s put himself on the map, proving to be an able and very solid backup catcher, at times, even better than their everyday catcher, J.T. Realmuto.
While some of the Phillies’ most expensive stars are struggling, including Nick Castellanos and Realmuto, Stubbs is stepping up. In Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the pesky Miami Marlins, the 29-year-old hit his first career walk-off home run to win the series.
They also made one family very happy:
According to High Heat Stats, Stubbs’ walk-off home run is the 16th by a Phillies catcher since 1901. It’s almost exactly 11 months since J.T. Realmuto became 15th on the list.
Speaking of Realmuto, Stubbs should get some of his playing time. The Phillies’ everyday catcher is hitting .241/.314/.361 with a .676 OPS, 11 doubles, two triples, and three home runs in 55 games. Excluding his 11-game debut with the Miami Marlins (ironic) in 2014, that’s the lowest slash line and OPS of his career. He’s actually striking out less than last year, but he’s also drawing significantly fewer walks, and his home-run percentage is more than 50% lower.
Stubbs’ sample size is obviously smaller, but you can’t argue with the results over 13 games coming into Wednesday, he was hitting .314/.368/.600 with a .968 OPS, two doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs, and that was before he went 2-for-3 and drove in all three of the Phillies’ runs.
All this becomes more impressive when you check his stats with his former team and see that over 51 career games with the Astros between 2019-21, he never hit a home run, let alone a walk-off one.
Fans agree that Stubbs has earned it, many even saying so before his epic moment on Wednesday afternoon:
While fans often think they know better than the manager, it would be disingenuous to say that Realmuto is earning his keep. Stubbs, on the other hand, is seriously outperforming expectations.
The argument that the Phillies overspend on underperformers is quite valid, and Stubbs is proving it in spades right now. In addition to giving him more playing time, the front office should look for more diamonds in the rough just like him and give them a chance.