.275/.328/.493, 593 PA, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 20.7 K%, 6.9 BB%, 5.7 fWAR
Where to begin?
Do we want to talk offense? Good, because J.T. Realmuto provided plenty of it. He had career highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored, isolated power, and slugging percentage. Among catchers with at least 250 PA in all of baseball, he finished:
- 4th in HR (25)
- 1st in R (92)
- 1st in RBI (83)
- 9th in ISO (.227)
- 5th in SLG (.493)
He became only the third catcher in Phillies history to have 25 or more home runs, 80 or more RBI, a batting average of .270 or higher and a slugging percentage of .490 or higher (bonus points for the other two, superbonus points for the years. And don’t use Play Index). He was an offensive force at a position where anything above average is considered a bonus. But you know all this, right? You’re here for what I love the most.
You’re here for the glove.
Well, sit back and enjoy.
They'll never learn...— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 28, 2019
Don't run on JT Realmuto pic.twitter.com/YqP1HptKkJ
JT Realmuto's 1.81 and 1.84 pop times on these two plays show why he was a lock for the gold glove. [Via @statcast]pic.twitter.com/JCdkJ5qnoF— Did the Phillies lose? (@DidthePhilslose) November 4, 2019
Slo-motion side videos of JT Realmuto's exchanges to second base. Outstanding. Thank you JT! @JTRealmuto @xanbarksdale @goodrocatching @TheCatchingGuy @dnacatching @301Catching @catchblockthrow @ProCatching pic.twitter.com/M5nl0aqsnY— Jeff Bronowski (@PoorManStatcast) October 14, 2019
PSA to all baserunners: Don’t run on JT Realmuto. #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/jbsMaPtAoP— Phils Nation (@PHLPhilNation) September 15, 2019
JT Realmuto pic.twitter.com/bcvHtdcXcX— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) April 20, 2019
JT Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. pic.twitter.com/nR6ff4rGlM— Did the Phillies lose? (@DidthePhilslose) April 1, 2019
And of course.....
It’s the question you have asked and it’s the same question people around the Phillies have asked. Why are teams still running on J.T. Realmuto? This was a fun investigation — and the wink is explained: https://t.co/ivVUE37zb3 pic.twitter.com/AKnAEWBnqK— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 29, 2019
We had heard about what kind of catcher Realmuto was, but being able to see it day in and day out, it really made you appreciate how good he was. The scary part is that he got better throughout the season.
Let’s quibble here.
There have been people grumbling that Realmuto was a little worse here in Philadelphia than he was in Miami. There is a case for this line of thinking. The home runs only went up slightly, even in the rabbit ball year, which lead to overall declines in offensive rate stats like wRC+ (126 in 2018 to 108), OPS+ (also 126 to 108) and DRC+ (122 to 106). Factor in the belief prior to the start of the year that the move to Citizens Bank Park would help improve his numbers and you can start to see how someone might be disappointed in the production Realmuto gave. In terms of simply looking at offensive output, yes, you can say that Realmuto wasn’t as good as we thought. The key moving forward for Realmuto is being able to maintain this output even in the ball changes in 2020.
He also had minor knee surgery at the end of the year. That qualifies as “bad”, so managing his workload is something that should be higher up on Joe Girardi’s wishlist for 2020.
The biggest goal facing the team this offseason was acquiring more pitching to supplement and improve what was already here. The second biggest goal was signing Realmuto to an extension.
We’ve seen a lot of pieces speaking about this very concept, how the team traded its best prospect to get him, how losing him to free agency would be a colossal mistake, etc.
What we can be certain is that he’ll be here in 2020 since the team tendered him a contract for next season and will go through the arbitration process. After that, it’s anyone’s guess how or when the extension will get done. There’s really no doubt that it will get done, the team having said as much. The question will be in the timing. He’s going to get paid; it’s just a matter of how much and for how long. He certainly deserves to beat the Yasmani Grandal contract (even though that was free agency), so somewhere in the five years, $100 million category will do nicely. Let’s just get it done so we can stop fretting about it. Let the fans enjoy having the best player in the game at his position for the forseeable future. It certainly is a treat.