By Ethan Salm
As the 2019 MLB season winds down, it is time to look at the best performers of the season at every position. In this series of columns, I will run through all of the best players at positions 1-9, along with the DH and relief pitchers. Without further ado, I give you my All-MLB team, or The Best Nine.
2/Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies had a disappointing season this year. When they signed Bryce Harper during the offseason from their rival Nationals, a lot of people, including me, picked them to win the division. This didn’t happen. They weren’t close to catching Atlanta, who ran away with the division. They couldn’t catch the Nationals, who hosted the NL Wild Card game this year. They didn’t even beat out the Mets for the third spot in the division.
Even with all this disappointment there were still bright spots. One of the best parts of this team was the catcher J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto had a good year at the plate, batting .275 with an on base percentage of .328. He added 83 RBIs, 25 HRs and 93 runs scored. While his average and OBP weren’t career highs, Realmuto did have the most RBIs, HRs, 2Bs and runs scored in his six-year career. He was productive from behind the plate as well: Realmuto led the NL in runners caught stealing (43), and he caught runners stealing 47% of the time. You better get a good jump if you try to run while Realmuto is behind the plate. On top of all of this, he led all catchers this year with a WAR of 4.4. The move from the Marlins to the Phillies worked out well for both Realmuto and Philadelphia.
Honorable Mention: Willson Contreras
The Chicago Cubs catcher actually started the All-Star game over Realmuto, so how did he top this list? The short answer: injuries. If Contreras played the whole season, he probably would have beat out Realmuto and topped this list. But, after the Midsummer Classic, the Cubs catcher dealt with hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of August. If this injury doesn’t happen, well, the way the Cubs season ended might have been different and these rankings would have probably been flipped.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org