Three Phillies Who Need to Step Up in the Absence of Bryce Harper

Three Phillies Who Need to Step Up in the Absence of Bryce Harper

MLB

Three Phillies Who Need to Step Up in the Absence of Bryce Harper

By

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Two-time National League MVP Bryce Harper was struck on the hand by the 97 MPH fastball Saturday night in San Diego, resulting in a fractured left thumb. The Phillies announced that the outfielder will be out indefinitely, so how will the team respond? Christian De Block reveals three players who need to play bigger roles for the Phillies as they look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.   

 

J.T. Realmuto

2022 Stats: .237/.316/.364, 5 HR, 28 RBI, .680 OPS and 93 OPS+

Before the 2021 season, the Phillies signed J.T Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million contract. For the last handful of years, the 31-year-old catcher has been considered to be the best player at the position in all of baseball. His combination of elite defense mixed in with his ability to be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup has consistently been there, until this season.

Realmuto is down in nearly every major offensive category compared to where he was last season. The catcher position has always been known to be quite taxing, so that could be playing a big role in his struggles at the plate. The former Miami Marlin played 134 games in 2021, so maybe his body is beginning to break down. 

The more pressing issue for Realmuto is related to what another catcher on the roster is doing. While it comes with a much smaller sample size, backup catcher Garrett Stubbs has outplayed Realmuto when he has been given the opportunity to play. In 45 at bats, Stubbs is hitting .311 with a 1.014 OPS and a 183 OPS+. I do not expect the Phillies to make Stubbs the starter, but you have to wonder if that thought may creep in at some point this summer. 

If the Phillies want to make a playoff push, especially with Harper out for the time being, Realmuto needs to perform better. His .218 AVG with two home runs and a .655 OPS in the month of June is not good enough for what he is being paid. 

 

Nick Castellanos

2022 Stats: .252/.306/.387, 7 HR, 36 RBI, .693 OPS and 96 OPS+

Nick Castellanos is one of the players on this Phillies team who was brought in to provide a spark in the lineup. The 30-year-old slugger had a strong start to the season, but has really slowed down as of late.

The month of April was one that brought a lot of success for the player. He hit .300 with a .374 OBP and an OPS at .849 in 22 games. Since then though, it has been a much different story for the right fielder. Castellanos has really struggled in the month of June, hitting .231 with an OPS at .558 in 24 games. During that span, he only has four extra base hits and no home runs. 

Phillies fans were probably anticipating a bit more out of Castellanos when they signed him to a five-year, $100 million contract in the offseason. The team expected him to provide quality protection behind Harper as the cleanup hitter. While it has not gone according to plan, Castellanos is just a run away from really finding himself at the plate. 

With the injury to Harper, Castellanos will likely become the team’s designated hitter. That suits his game much better, as the former Cincinnati Red has never been known as a great defender in right field. Allowing him to solely focus on being an impact bat should bring the best out of Castellanos moving forward.

 

Alec Bohm

2022 Stats: .259/.295/.357, 4 HR, 26 RBI, .652 OPS and 85 OPS+

Ever since the Phillies drafted him out of Wichita State in the 2018 MLB Draft, Alec Bohm has been considered as a big piece for both the present, and future of the organization. The 25-year-old third baseman has had his fair share of struggles in the majors, most notably getting demoted to Triple-A in August last season. Bohm has come back stronger in 2022, but the Phillies are going to need more from him over the coming months. 

Bohm got off to a fast start to begin the season, hitting .308 with a .827 OPS in the month of April. He was doing an excellent job of coming up big in critical moments, even while hitting from different spots in the order. 

The infielder has cooled off since then though, hitting .252 with a .611 OPS in the month of May. In 23 games, Bohm is hitting .242 with seven extra base hits and a .602 OPS in June. The strikeouts numbers have increased as pitchers have begun to attack him a bit differently. 

Most Phillies fans probably think of Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos as the players the team needs to rely on because of what they are being payed. Even though he is a bit younger, Bohm is going to be just as important during this stretch. He is more than capable of going on a streak where the Phillies can look to him as a guy who can drive runs in from the middle of the order. The talent has always been there from Alec Bohm, it is just a question of can he put it all together at the right time.

Latest

More The Wright Way Network