JT Realmuto improves hard shot rate, hit against broken balls

This story was taken from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter, featuring Paul Casella in this edition. To read the full newsletter, Click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.

JT Realmuto isn’t just on a hot streak over the past month – he could be in the midst of the best streak of his entire career.

Realmuto had recorded a 1.131 OPS in his last 25 starts in Game 1 of Friday’s series against the Mets, marking the best 25-game streak in his nine major league seasons. He hit .352 with eight homers, 26 RBIs and three stolen bases during that streak, making him the first catcher to hit at least .350 with eight home runs, 25 RBIs and multiple interceptions over a 25-game span. since Ivan Rodriguez in 2000.

This all comes after Realmuto entered that streak hitting just .238 with a .672 OPS in 69 games.

Realmuto posted a hard hit rate of just 39.7% through June. That would have been his lowest single-season since 2017 with the Marlins — the year before he made his first of three All-Star selections.

But since early July, Realmuto’s hard-hit rate has skyrocketed to 57.1%, seventh-best among the Majors in that period. In other words, more than half the time he puts the ball in play, he has an exit speed of at least 95 mph.

Likewise, Realmuto had an average exit speed of 93.4 mph during its hot streak. That’s not only a huge jump from his 87.7 mph through June, but it’s fourth highest among 153 players with at least 75 balls hit since July 1. The only players with a higher average exit speed during this period are Aaron Judge (95.8 mph), Austin Riley (93.8) and Teoscar Hernández (93.6).

No more problems with the curve – and the destruction of fastballs

Even during his slow start, Realmuto still had success against fastballs. It was the breaking pitches that really drove his numbers down.

Prior to July, Realmuto was batting just .174 (16 for 92) with a .283 hitting percentage against breaking balls. He had more strikeouts (27) than hits (16) at bat ending on a break ball. But since July 1, Realmuto has reached 0.364 with a 0.591 shot percentage against breaking balls.

Sitting on these breaking balls also allows Realmuto to exploit fastballs even more. After hitting .290 with a .427 percentage against fastballs to start the year, he’s hitting .323 (21 for 65) with a .721 percentage against fastballs since July 1. Ten of those 21 hits went for extra bases, including seven home runs.

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