Philadelphia Phillies: Predicting the Phillies opening day lineup

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
6 of 9
Philadelphia Phillies
(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /

5) C- J.T. Realmuto

Justin: He will rake at CPB, just like he’s done pretty much anywhere outside of Miami. He’ll be a terrific anchor for the top half of the order.

I know it sounds crazy, but this is the move that I was most excited for this offseason. Now, in my defense, I went through a period where I never truly thought we would end up with either of Manny Machado or Harper, so in my mind, I was really focused on this acquisition. I applaud Matt Klentak for having the brass to trade Sixto Sanchez, the Phils’ highly coveted pitching prospect, in order to land the best catcher in baseball in J.T. Realmuto.

I really like Jorge Alfaro’s arm behind the plate, the truth is the guy can’t block a ball to save his life and his strikeout rate is approaching frustrating levels of futility. Realmuto adds at least four wins by replacing Alfaro, and he’s a career 13 WAR player. The guy is a stud at the plate, both as a hitter and defensively.

He hit .277 in 2018 with 21 homers, and that was while playing in Miami, one of the worst ballparks in all of the majors for hitters. His numbers are going to soar playing at CPB. Rounding out the “Philly Phive” as Pete coined, would make the most sense for Realmuto as it would basically bring up another strong hitter once either Harper or Hoskins has already cleared the bases.

As if pitchers didn’t have enough to worry about with the Harper-Hoskins 1-2 punch at 3 and 4, now they have to reload and pitch to a guy who’s the furthest thing from an easy out and another home run threat.  And the guys behind him aren’t slouches either. The 27-year-old catcher totaled 132 hits last season while driving in 74 runs and grabbing 30 doubles. These are numbers you will take all day long from your catcher, and they’re going to be even better in a Phillies uniform.

Pete: The brand-new franchise catcher is a rock behind the plate and a consistent force in the batter’s box, an exemplary reinforcement behind Hoskins and likely to reach the .300 level yet again.

J.T. Real-who-to? One of the top catchers in the game has been camouflaged inside the Miami Marlins massively dormant stadium. Toss Realmuto onto South Street on a Saturday night, and one out of every 50 people might recognize him (Justin undoubtedly being the one). But the new man behind the plate will be hard to miss when he’s trotting around the diamond in a third of the back-to-back-to-back Phillies victory laps around the bases.

The acquisition of his favorite player in the game was yet another domino to fall in the tale of “Bryce Harper: The Phillie”. In doing so, the Phillies brought in the best catcher to grace the city since the departure of the Chooch-oo Train.

Realmuto in the five-hole provides yet another threat in the “Philly Phive” to knock the ball out of the stadium. More appealing is a consistent bat with an average upwards of .280. His 38 doubles last season was more than anyone on the Phillies roster aside from Hoskins.

Unfortunately, we lose the fun in playing “Which Alfaro will show up today”, but I think an All-Star sitting somewhere close to .300 and 70 RBI’s is a fair trade-off, not to mention a rock behind the plate. The only thing that would make me feel better if the last name “Knapp” was not present on the Opening Day roster but hey, I’ll live with it.

The best part: after Hoskins clears the bases of any additional runners in scoring position, Realmuto will step in and knock one in the gap to start it all over again.