Zack Wheeler & Bryce Harper named as finalists for MLB awards

MLB: AUG 25 Phillies at Nationals
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) congratulates right fielder Bryce Harper (3) after scoring a run during the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals MLB game at Nationals Park on August 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

The Phillies might not have made the postseason, but that doesn’t mean the cloud is without a silver lining. On Tuesday evening, it was announced that two of the clubs players were finalists for MLB awards.

Zack Wheeler

Wheeler was an absolute star for the Phillies this year. He and Corbin Burnes made the NL Cy Young award a two-horse race, but it’s arguable that Wheeler crossed he line a nose ahead.

He finished the year with a 14-10 record and a 2.78 ERA. He led the MLB in innings pitched, shutouts, and pitching bWAR (7.5). In terms of the National League, he was at the tip of the class in strikeouts, and second in WAR (7.3).

In his second season for the Phils, Wheeler rapidly became a fan-favorite and a real anchor in what was otherwise a previously wobbly rotation. With a new approach to pitching, opting to throw his slider more than his notorious sinker, Wheeler blossomed into an ace for the Phils in what was so much more than just a career-year.

Wheelsday was everyone’s favorite day of the week in 2021. Here’s to hoping that the workhorse is rewarded with a reward he truly deserves.

Bryce Harper

Fresh off of winning the ‘NL’s most outstanding player’ award, Harper is going for glory. He’s been here before in 2015 and it’s why the Phillies paid him such a mouth-watering contract. They knew that Harper’s ceiling is an MVP-caliber season and they got exactly that in 2021.

Bryce posted a slash line of .309/.429/.615 which is just scary when you think about it. He led the entire MLB in OPS (1.044) and became the first MLB player since Ryan Howard to post a slash line of .300/.400/.700 after the All Star Break (per Destiny Lurgado of Phillies Nation). Punching in 35 home runs, Harper put together a campaign like few have seen and bounced back from a quiet 2020 season with a monstrous year.

He’ll have some stiff competition to win the NL MVP award. Washington Nationals OF Juan Soto and San Diego Padres wonderkid Fernando Tatis Jr are among the finalists. The full list can be seen here.

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

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