The best catcher in baseball is back at the best time for the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto hits a double against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Reiver Sanmartin during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The baseball game has come to understand that the moniker “Best Catcher in Baseball” is associated with Phillies own JT Realmuto. Since acquiring Realmuto in a trade with the Miami Marlins heading into the 2019 season, JT has played to the level of the nickname. The Phillies added the best catcher in the game on that day in 2019, and in 2022 the statement remains: JT Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball.

One of Our Own

When Realmuto first arrived in Philadelphia, he quickly became a fan favorite. His ability to make strong contact to drive in runs, accompanied by his electric arm behind the plate, won fans over in a heartbeat. JT plays hard, which is a must in Philadelphia.

Since becoming a Phillie, Realmuto has been a 2-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and a Silver Slugger. He was the first Phillies catcher to win a Gold Glove at the catcher position since Mike Lieberthal in 1999.

Realmuto had made such an impact in his first two seasons with the club that the fan base rallied behind him to get him resigned. The #SignJT movement was strong and fans would not let the Phillies management off the hook.

Realmuto had the support of Bryce Harper, his teammates, and the fans, something that stands out. Once he was brought back to Philly on a five-year deal, it cemented that the Phillies would carry the best catcher in baseball for the rest of his prime.

Most recently, JT Realmuto was named the starting catcher for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Only the best of the best will be offered to play for the team, and JT will join Bryce Harper in representing the Phillies on an international stage.

Phillies Catcher was in some hot water

Before the 2022 season, there was nothing but positives surrounding JT Realmuto. The Phillies star catcher was loved by all and his jerseys were flying off the racks in the New Era store.

The hot topic over the last couple years regarding Covid and its vaccine would be the root cause of JT losing some of the fanbase. Realmuto was not eligible to play in a series against the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the season due to his vaccination status. JT had some strong comments when asked about his choice and if he felt he was leaving his team out to dry.

Pairing these statements with poor play, the Phillies catcher’s image suffered in the eyes of some Phillies fans. While not all fans shared these feelings, there was some anti-JT sentiment growing within the fan base.

Heart of the Order

Following the Toronto series, these feelings for the most part began to fade. JT Realmuto put his money where his mouth was and once again began playing like the best in the game.

Since the Toronto series ended Realmuto has been slashing .355/ .413/ .691/ 1.104 with seven home runs and 25 runs batted in. In those 30 games, JT has been carrying the Phillies offense. Batting in the cleanup spot, JT has balanced out a lineup that is missing Bryce Harper. Realmuto’s presence in the four-hole has also allowed Alec Bohm to shine in the three-spot, forcing pitchers to give Alec something to hit.

JT will be in the conversation at the end of the season for another Golden Glove and Silver Slugger award. He will be battling Willson Contreras and Will Smith for these honors. The most important honor to our catcher this season will be making the post-season.

The Phillies are on the brink of their first Red October in 11 seasons. Under Realmuto’s guide, along with the return of Bryce Harper, I expect the Phillies to rally behind the best catcher in baseball and make the playoffs.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum