Phillies: J.T. Realmuto, MLB’s best catcher, talks pitching

Gunning down base thieves, Realmuto also protects Hoskins in the batting order and is a hitting threat. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.
Gunning down base thieves, Realmuto also protects Hoskins in the batting order and is a hitting threat. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /
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(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was discussing pitching. It’s time for the pitching staff to listen.

When the best catcher in baseball talks, people listen. And despite modern analytics allowing an argument for any of a half dozen players at any given position as the “best” – or maybe three at catcher now – the strong consensus now is that the Philadelphia Phillies backstop J.T. Realmuto is the best at his position in the world. It’s hard to argue with the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the same year.

Not to mention his massive lead over all other MLB catchers in baserunners caught stealing last year.

Thus, when Realmuto speaks, as he did to NBC Sports Philly’s Jim Salisbury Feb. 27, everybody should listen, especially the Phillies pitchers.

Between touching briefly on his move to Philly and ending up with the “chip” the Phillies have on their collective shoulder after being picked by some to come in fourth in their division, the catcher talked at fair length about team pitching.

Regarding new pitching coach Bryan Price, Realmuto offered, “I talked to him more this offseason than any coach, five or six times. He would ask about every pitcher, what I thought their strengths and weaknesses were, and then he would give me his insights from watching video and we’d go over how we thought we could help those guys improve.”

So, we’re going to put that over in a corner for the moment – a pretty good line of communication between MLB’s best catcher and a respected coach Realmuto also called “a sneaky, really good signing for us.”

Turning to the pitching staff, the catcher was more detailed, and along the way, took a swipe at last year’s dismissed pitching coach Chris Young, if not by name, and dismissed manager Gabe Kapler, if only by implication: “Last year, we were so caught up into getting guys to pitch at the top of zone. That’s all we were doing. As a hitter, it’s tough to catch up to fastballs up in the zone — until somebody is only throwing fastballs up in the zone.”