There are, at the moment, a few competitors for the “best catcher in MLB” unofficial title.
Adley Rutschman transformed the Baltimore Orioles from perennial losers into playoff contenders with his 5.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2022, while Will Smith blossomed into a hitting star, as did the Toronto Blue Jays’ Alejandro Kirk.
Not only does the eye test suggest there is no one like Realmuto, the numbers paint a similar picture.
Most WAR among MLB catchers:
…since 2015: JT Realmuto (29.7)
…since 2016: JT (27.3)
…since 2017: JT (24.7)
…since 2018: JT (20.3)
…since 2019: JT (15.8)
…since 2020: JT (11.3)
…since 2021 JT (10.0)
…since 2022: JT (6.5)
Realmuto’s rookie season was 2015. pic.twitter.com/9kGJ8y9Cfz
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) January 23, 2023
Since making his MLB debut, Realmuto has dominated the league from a WAR perspective.
He offers the complete package from the catcher position: he can hit (career .788 OPS and 112 wRC+), he has power (134 home runs), and even some speed (78 career steals and 21 last year, almost unprecedented for a player of his position), while also offering a top-notch defensive presence behind the plate.
Realmuto is a master framer, too, so pitchers love to work with him.
He has won two Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards so far, and was a key player in the Phillies’ recent World Series run.
Realmuto will be 32 when the 2023 campaign starts, so he is not exactly young.
The catcher position is extremely demanding and often requires some sort of break, or alternating with first base or designated hitter duties in the latter part of a player’s career.
However, if Realmuto can keep his present level for a few more years, he can start building a pretty interesting Hall of Fame case.