It is becoming apparent that J.T Realmuto wants to be and deservedly so the highest paid catcher in baseball. So the Phillies better be prepared to pay up or lose him after this season to free agency! Read HERE.
The Phillies are on the horns of a dilemma. They might need to get prepared to pivot away from Realmuto, an important building block of the future and groom an heir apparent. We spent much of the winter and spring training figuring out who just might replace J.T. if he does not re-sign with the Phillies.
Of the other catching veterans in spring training camp, we were impressed with Christian Bethancourt. The most impressive young catcher was Logan O’Hoppe from his play in the Australian Baseball League. Yes, we did watch several of the 3:30 am Eastern Time starts of the Adelaide Giants this winter.
The 28 year-old Bethancourt might not be a long term solution, should Realmuto leave in free agency next year. Last season, he did hit .255 (.718 OPS) with 10 homers combined playing in Korea and the Dominican Winter League. His last significant playing time in MLB was with San Diego back in 2016 when he hit .228 (.633 OPS) with 6 homers in 191 at bats. He only threw out 6 of 22 base stealers in 2016 MLB action but has a 45 percent caught stealing percent in recent AAA years. This spring Bethancourt went 4 for 15 with 3 homers. His 1.161 OPS was a tick higher than Realmuto’s spring OPS which was at 1.147 in 23 at bats. They each had 5 RBIs.
A Phillies young minor league catcher we were most been impressed with last season was Logan O’Hoppe. Though he dressed for several major league spring training games, he did not play. The best MLB Baseball Betsy video we could get was of O’Hoppe warming up Zack Wheeler in the last spring training game of the season at Spectrum Field before the Covid-19 shutdown.
O’Hoppe stood out in the Australian Baseball League where he was voted on to the ABL Players’ Choice Team of the Year as the catcher. As quoted in the Adelaide Giants press release announcing the award, Logan was praised “for his his athleticism, throwing accuracy and baseball brain which contributed to making him the complete package. Through 28 games he hit .258 with a .483 slugging percentage, and collected 23 hits, 17 runs, five home runs and 18 RBI.” Also Logan went 5 for 14 with three RBIs in five ABL playoff games.