3 Phillies players who already have our trust entering the 2024 season

As the Philadelphia Phillies prepare for spring training in Clearwater, Florida, we look at three players firmly established in the hearts of fans.

Philadelphia Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are two players who should have full trust heading into 2024
Philadelphia Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are two players who should have full trust heading into 2024 / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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J.T. Realmuto

After five seasons in Philadelphia, J.T. Realmuto is already the second-best catcher in team history and closing in on the No. 1 spot. If that isn't enough reason to deserve trust, then we don't know what is.

Realmuto has been getting it done for the Phillies ever since arriving in a trade from Miami prior to the 2019 season. With all due respect to the return package of Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sánchez and Will Stewart — as well as $250,000 in international bonus slot money — they were more than worth it.

The Del City, Oklahoma native played with a new sense of freedom during his first season in Philadelphia, having wanted to leave the Marlins for some time. Galvanized by a change of scenery, he immediately strengthened the Phillies' catcher position both at and behind the plate.

Realmuto had career highs of 25 home runs and a .493 slugging percentage, while also hitting an at-the-time single-season best of 83 RBI. He earned his first-ever Gold Glove and All-MLB First Team selection, as well as his second Silver Slugger Award and All-Star appearance.

However, as impressive as the 32-year-old's 2019 campaign was — and it really was — it speaks volumes that it doesn't stand out as the best of his time in Philadelphia. Instead, that honor goes to his play during the 2022 season.

The 2022 season was special for the Phillies in general, due to their return to the World Series for the first time since 2009. And on an individual level, Realmuto proved to be the real deal (apologies for that blatant, lame play on words).

The 2010 third-round draft pick hit a career-high 84 RBI, which highlighted another strong offensive season that won him his third Silver Slugger Award. He was also once again stellar behind the plate, as he went on to collect his second Gold Glove Award.

Realmuto continued his impressive season by not being fazed during the first playoff action of his career, as the Phillies only fell short at the final hurdle, in six games to the Houston Astros in the World Series. As if to cement how good he was in 2022, he finished a career-high seventh in NL MVP voting.

An important contributing factor to the three-time All-Star's success in Philadelphia has been dismissing the notion that he wears down over the course of a season. In this respect, he's currently on a streak of catching the most games in the NL for three consecutive years.

There is understandable concern that Realmuto's age will catch up with him soon, and in this respect, 2023 wasn't his best. But for now, he's still ranked by MLB Network as the game's fourth-best catcher (and this is after three seasons being ranked as the best). Up to a certain point trust has to be earned, but he's now at a point where it deserves to be given automatically.