The Philadelphia Phillies have the best catcher in baseball. J.T. Realmuto was unparalleled on both sides of the ball in 2022, soundly reclaiming the title of BCIB.
Realmuto had a strong 2021 season, but his performance was overshadowed by players like Buster Posey, Will Smith, and Salvador Perez. This year, however, it was all J.T.
Realmuto got off to a slow start by his own standards, batting .239 with five home runs and a 92 wRC+ through the end of June. Those are still fine numbers for a catcher, especially one who plays such tremendous defense, but they were disappointing coming from the former Silver Slugger winner. For the first time since 2017 — there was no All-Star Game in 2020 — Realmuto was not named to the NL All-Star team.
Thankfully, the slump did not last forever. Right around the time Bryce Harper hit the IL with a broken thumb, Realmuto stepped on the gas. Over the final three months of the season, he hit .311 with 17 home runs and a 163 wRC+. His .958 OPS was the highest in the National League over that time, while his FanGraphs WAR was second in baseball behind only Aaron Judge.
As for his catching and his baserunning, Realmuto was excellent all year long. He stole 21 bases in 22 chances, and he threw out a league-leading 30 runners on the base paths. He caught 1131.2 innings – 175.1 more than the next-best catcher – and allowed only two passed balls.
He finished the year as one of the top-ten position players in baseball by all three versions of WAR. He won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger, and he should be named to the All-MLB Team when winners are announced. It was the best season of his already great career.
To top it all off, Realmuto got to catch in the playoffs for the first time. Among active players, only Jean Segura had played more games without a postseason appearance.
Realmuto wasn't great in the postseason, hitting just .215 with a .661 OPS, but he did have some pretty amazing moments. His inside-the-park home run in the NLDS will go down in Phillies history, as will his tenth-inning blast in Game 1 of the World Series.
Final Grade: A+
Simply put, J.T. Realmuto was the best catcher in baseball this season. He was also, arguably, the best player on the Phillies. You can't ask for any more than that.
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