Garrett Stubbs isn't going to just let Rafael Marchán take his job

Stubbs isn't necessarily known for his on-field performance, but he has stepped up his game since J.T. Realmuto hit the IL.
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Career backup catcher Garrett Stubbs isn’t always recognized for his contributions on the field. In fact, in his six-year career, he has played just 167 games with the most in one season being 46 games, coming in 2022 for the Phillies.

Since coming to Philadelphia in the 2021 offseason via trade from Houston, the 31-year-old catcher has been affectionately known as the CVO, the Chief Vibes Officer, in the clubhouse and with Phillies fans.

He is the vocal leader in the clubhouse when it comes to postseason celebrations, on-the-field celebrations after hits like the Phillies' patented "shimmies," and the keeper of the clubhouse playlist after wins. You will rarely catch Stubbs without a smile or a positive attitude.

While those are all important attributes of a major league player, when it comes down to it, the question is: how good are you on the field?

Garrett Stubbs isn't going to just let Rafael Marchán take his job

Stubbs is a career .216/.288/.318 hitter with just seven career home runs, 85 hits, 40 RBI and 38 walks. Most of his value comes from his play behind the plate. He calls a good game and currently sits in the 82nd percentile in throwing runners out and the 81st percentile in pop time.

But even with those positive contributions, his framing is just in the 26th percentile while his blocks above average is in the 17th percentile, according to Baseball Savant.

These numbers don’t jump out at you screaming “high-value backup catcher.” But a backup catcher adds more than just on-field value and plays an important role on a successful baseball team. They have to support the pitching staff with game preparation, they have to step in to give the starting catcher a breather without a major drop-off, and they have to be able to stay ready in case something goes awry.

When J.T. Realmuto went on the injured list with knee surgery, all of Philadelphia collectively held its breath. The panic started to settle in. The worry got to an all-time high for how the team would succeed without their All-Star catcher and with Stubbs as the main backstop.

Stubbs has held his own since Realmuto hit the IL

When Realmuto went down on June 11, Stubbs was batting .173/.271/.192. By all standards, absolutely dismal numbers. The panic was justified. Stubbs himself even acknowledged how bad he had been.

But since June 11, Stubbs has played in 13 games. He has accumulated 11 hits, one home run, three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. He's slashing .244/.277/.333, which isn’t All-Star level, but also is definitely not dragging the team down. The numbers are solid for a backup catcher who is mostly batting eighth or ninth in the lineup.

In the 13 games that he has started, the Phillies are 7-6, and since June 11, they are 13-12. Not to mention, they have also been missing multiple other superstar bats in the lineup during this time.

All-in-all, Stubbs has filled in nicely for Realmuto while he recovers from his knee surgery. While the panic may have been warranted, the CVO showed he’s more than just a “vibes guy” in the clubhouse. The 31-year-old veteran showed he can step in and step up when the team needs him.

The Phillies can rest assured that their clubhouse positivity, playlist, and celebrations are taken care of with Garrett Stubbs. And now they can feel confident that he has the on-field duties taken care of as well.