Philadelphia Phillies: Early J.T. Realmuto slump is not worth our panic

The early 2022 numbers for J.T. Realmuto aren’t what Philadelphia Phillies fans were hoping for from their star catcher. Each of his slash numbers is down from where they have been during his time in Philadelphia but not so significant enough for any alarm—or Liberty—bells to be rung.

A huge difference in his power totals might be the only reason to yank out a few hairs. It’s far too soon to start thinking he’s a black hole on the roster. Concerns that maybe the team did overpay for him are justified. Any catcher over 30-years-old making north of $20 million is bound to fall short of meeting expectations, especially when it’s someone with Realmuto’s pedigree.

While his bat is down, Realmuto continues to play some of the best defense behind the plate. We’ve also seen the Phillies starting pitchers perform relatively well this year. The conclusion to take away from this: Realmuto might just be evolving.

The bigger problem with the Philadelphia Phillies is getting J.T. Realmuto playing time in different ways.

Because of the way the Phillies are built, those days of seeing Realmuto play some first base are fewer, and his chances to DH are practically non-existent. Last season, Realmuto had a chance to start seven games at first base and another three as the DH. This was before the universal DH was in place. Back in 2020 when all teams had it available, he made eight starts there out of a possible 60 chances in the shortened campaign.

This year, it’s just not going to happen nearly as much. Rhys Hoskins remains present at first base which isn’t the problem. It’s the Phillies loading up with three corner outfielders for two spots. Bryce Harper’s inability to throw a baseball due to his own ongoing ailment gets in the way further.

If Realmuto is going to bust out of a slump, it’s going to have to come with the usual nightly beating one receives when they are a catcher.

Pessimistic Phillies fans were likely ready for Realmuto’s downfall. His unusual athleticism for the position he plays was bound to catch up to him at some point. This could be the year we see some signs but with the lineup they have it shouldn’t be all that noticeable.

Realmuto remains one of the best overall catchers in baseball despite the slow start. His contributions don’t always show up in the box score. A reliable defender with a proven track record at the plate, he’s one hot streak away from looking more like himself again.