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 G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Moving to the Infamous Weaker Starters

Then, in several lengthy answers centering largely on the pitchers expected to be the back end of the Phillies rotation, Realmuto made clear his enthusiasm for Price’s way of thinking as it might apply to them. He also implied Phillies hurlers will not be so single-minded (and, thus, predictable) as the past two years.

Pitches will move around the strike zone, said the guy who will catch most of them. A far greater emphasis on throwing pitches down in that zone will be apparent. If a putative starter doesn’t have a fourth pitch, he’ll be encouraged to develop one.

About Zach Eflin, one of the guys expected to be in the back end of the rotation, his catcher said: “…he knows who he is as a pitcher. Nobody here is going to try to change that this year.”

As has been widely discussed at least around Philly, Eflin rejected management advice on high strikes and which fastballs he should use last season when it was clear that advice wasn’t working for him.

It’s generally thought that he did this on his own, but it makes sense that Realmuto was part of that process. After all, he had to know what pitch was coming.

Of the other two pitchers expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta, Realmuto declared, “Those were two of our main guys last year that we tried to make one-dimensional pitchers….”

He noted both were working on better change-ups, as well as general pitch variety.