Phillies star JT. Realmuto vies for a catcher feat last accomplished in 1999.
The Philadelphia Phillies are positioning themselves well to make the postseason for the first time since 2011. The difference between the 2022 Phillies and the teams of past season collapses are the contributions that are coming from many different players. One of the main pieces that has kept this team going in recent months is catcher J.T. Realmuto.
When Bryce Harper went down with a thumb injury and missed almost two months of playing time, Realmuto stepped up and has helped carry the team — not just offensively, but also defensively. Since Harper’s injury, Realmuto has hit .314 and has shown the power-hitting possibilities Phillies fans are used to seeing from him.
Realmuto is having such a good season offensively, that he is chasing first-ballot Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez’s only 20/20 season for a catcher in baseball history.
After Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins, the catcher has 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases on the season. These numbers put him well within reach of Rodriguez’s feat.
In 1999, Rodriguez won the American League MVP award — hitting .332 with 35 home runs, 113 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. This is one of the best seasons for a catcher in modern Major League Baseball history. Realmuto is not putting up anywhere near those numbers, but him becoming the first catcher to record 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases since then would put him in pretty good company.
Realmuto has contributed on defense as well — throwing out more than 40 percent of potential base-stealers. Realmuto will not win the National League MVP Award in 2022 , as Rodriguez did in 1999. However, there are those calling for him to receive some votes.
Realmuto has certainly proved his value to Phillies fans, and he will look to continue to produce as the team make its run toward the postseason.