Phillies' Realmuto is heating up

by Marc Narducci | Jul 23, 2021
Phillies' Realmuto is heating up J.T. Realmuto was a Phillies All-Star this season, but the veteran catcher hadn’t been his dominant self for long stretches this season.

That might be changing.

Realmuto hit a walk-off two-run home run during Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Miami Marlins in a game that was suspended from Saturday night.

He then went 3-for-5 with two RBI as the Phillies earned a 7-4 win over his former Marlins team in the regularly scheduled game on Sunday.

After Sunday, Realmuto was hitting .274 with nine home runs, 38 RBI and an .822 OPS.

Those are really good numbers for a person who has to play such a defensively demanding position as catcher.

Realmuto is definitely heating up. Entering Tuesday’s game in New York against the Yankees, he was hitting .357 with a home run and seven RBI in his previous seven games.

His .274 average is near his career mark of .277 and his .822 OPS is higher than his career (.787).

So really, what Realmuto is doing this year is matching what his career numbers suggest and, in the case of OPS, exceeding them.

Maybe it is that Realmuto has created such lofty expectations and we hold him to such a high standard.

That could come from the free agent contract he signed in the off-season to remain with the Phillies: five years, $115.5 million.

The 30-year-old Realmuto is also a three-time All-Star, including twice with the Phillies, once in 2019 and again this year. (There was no All-Star game last year due to COVID.)

Realmuto is one of those players who can carry a team both offensively and defensively, although he isn’t throwing out runners with the frequency of his first Phillies season in 2019. That year, he threw out 43 of 92 attempted base stealers (46.7%).

This year, he has thrown out 7 of 28 base stealers (25%).

One thing that can’t be shown by stats is his leadership. Plus, he is a great handler of the pitching staff.

It’s no coincidence that as he is heating up, so are the Phillies. As we wrote last week, they are very much in the race, beginning the week just two games behind the slumping and injury-plagued New York Mets.

Don’t be surprised if the Atlanta Braves, despite injury issues of their own, contend all season long in the NL East and nobody should count out the Washington Nationals.

Most consider the Mets the team to beat, but shortstop Francisco Lindor is out with an oblique injury and Jacob deGrom, the odds-on favorite for the Cy Young Award, is currently sidelined with forearm soreness.

Considering how banged up they have been, the Mets have done a good job this year, but players like Lindor and deGrom are difficult to replace even though Lindor hasn’t enjoyed his typical All-Star season.

The Phillies entered the week just two games behind the Mets. Led by players like Realmuto, they have everybody’s attention.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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