The Phillies are in a good spot with J.T. Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs manning the backstop in 2023.
With 50 days until Opening Day, it might be fun to break down the Philadelphia Phillies' position situations and pitching as we patiently wait until March 30. This series will work around the diamond and analyze Phillies players at each position heading into the 2023 season.
First, let's look at the Phillies catchers. They are No. 2 in the scorebook, but let's wait until closer to Opening Day to analyze the pitchers — as there are still some potential battles that need to be figured out in spring training.
The Phillies have the best catcher in baseball in J.T. Realmuto — one of the best hitting catchers, but his defense, handling of pitchers, and game management are equally important. In his first four seasons in red pinstripes, Realmuto has had an OPS above .800 in three seasons. He has also been named to two National League All-Star teams and won two Gold Glove awards.
Realmuto's durability is above league average for a catcher. In 2022, he caught 133 games. The next closest was the newly acquired Atlanta Braves backstop, Sean Murphy, at 116 games.
Realmuto, defensively, had a stellar 2022 season. He only allowed two passed balls in more than 1,100 innings caught. He also threw out 44 percent of potential base stealers, which was tops in Major League Baseball. According to FanGraphs, Realmuto finished 11th with a 6.5 WAR.
Realmuto is invaluable to the Phillies. While he is the most durable catcher, he will still require some days off to stay healthy. Luckily, the club has found a solid backup catcher in Garrett Stubbs.
Stubbs was somewhat of a surprise when he came from the Houston Astros and had a respectable season for a backup. In 2022, Stubbs had his most plate appearances (121) by far since his 2019 debut. He slashed .264/.350/.462 and had an OPS of .812. While Stubbs performed well at the plate, he will likely regress some in 2023. But even if he does, he can still be an effective alternative when Realmuto needs rest.
Stubbs does not have Realmuto's defensive acumen, but he is not a total liability behind the plate either. It is unfair to compare Stubbs to Realmuto, as the latter is among the league's best.
With Realmuto and Stubbs, the Phillies have a solid duo to call games for their pitchers and carry them through a long season.
Next, we will look at first base — where whether you believe it or not, the Phillies are still pretty strong.