J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura just so happen to possess a particular skill the 2018 Phillies did not.
Phillies right-handed hitters last season hit .190 against right-handed breaking balls, which ranked 27th out of 30 teams and was well below the league average of .215.
In that category, which is crucial given the number of right-handed relievers around the league with wipeout breaking balls, Realmuto and Segura have excelled.
Over the last three seasons, Segura has hit .292 against right-handed breaking balls. Realmuto has hit .291. They rank second and third in all of MLB over that span among players with as many plate appearances, behind only Jose Altuve.
"One of the things we noticed from across the field with J.T. was you can't bring a right-handed slider guy in to get him out," his new manager, Gabe Kapler, said Tuesday. "He does a really good job against that profile."
Segura is one of the best in baseball at taking an outside pitch the other way. It's not as simple as throwing him a low-and-away slider with two strikes, because he has the bat control to foul it off or poke it through the right side. Historically, pitchers have had more success coming in on Segura than going away.
Realmuto's success against right-handed breaking balls, which might be even better if not for the suppressive conditions of Marlins Park, is owed to his level swing and line-drive approach. Last season, 22.8 percent of Realmuto's balls in play were line drives. That would have led qualifying Phillies by a comfortable margin. Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Carlos Santana and Odubel Herrera were all between 16-19 percent.
Not a bad idea to add that kind of solid contact to a lineup that lacked it.
Segura is a .290 career hitter against right-handed pitching. Realmuto is a .288 hitter with an OPS 48 points higher vs. righties than vs. lefties.
The ability of both to hit same-handed pitching will make the top of the Phillies' order tougher to combat in 2019. Instead of opting immediately for the right-on-right matchup late in games, opposing managers will have something to think about.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.