Voting for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game is officially live, and while the Philadelphia Phillies have unquestionably disappointed this season, every team gets at least one “All-Star” in baseball. When it comes to the sputtering Fightin’ Phils, there really is only one player who deserves such an honor.
Playing in year two of his five-year/$118 million contract, right-hander Zack Wheeler has gone above and beyond when it comes to fulfilling his duties as a top-of-the-rotation arm for the Phillies. Signed to be a plus #2 behind the likes of Aaron Nola, creating a 1-2 punch to rival some of the best in baseball, Wheeler has essentially established himself as the Phillies true “Ace” this season. While part of that can be attributed to Nola largely struggling during the second half of May, that shouldn’t take away from the brilliance that Wheeler has displayed on the mound this season.
Across 11 starts, Wheeler is 4-2 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.933 WHIP. Both numbers would be career bests if he were to finish the regular season there.
Wheeler has thrown one complete game shutout, and currently ranks fourth in all of baseball in terms of innings pitched. He also ranks third in terms of fWAR, trailing only Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom. Some pretty elite company to share if you ask me.
Currently possessing a 2.52 ERA and a 0.933 WHIP, Philadelphia Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler should be viewed as a borderline lock for the All-Star Game this year.
Wheeler’s month of May saw himself planted in the Phillies’ history books as well. He recorded three straight 10 strikeout games, and became the first Phillies pitcher since the late Roy Halladay to post a sub-2.50 ERA sub-1.00 WHIP in their first ten starts of a season. Even better company to share.
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You could make a half decent argument that someone like Rhys Hoskins (.852 OPS), or Jean Segura (.322 batting average) deserve some All-Star consideration as well, but the truth of the matter is that sub-.500 teams don’t typically see themselves earn multiple All-Stars. If the Philadelphia Phillies were performing better as a team, atop the lackluster NL East, then maybe they’d see themselves earn more than one nomination.
It also doesn’t help that Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, two players who were looking like borderline locks for the ASG in early May, have both missed significant time since then due to injury. Even if both players end up having a red-hot month of June, they still might miss the midseason affair due to a lack of total games played compared to other players around baseball.
That brings us back to Wheeler, who has not only stayed healthy and active for the entire 2021 season, but has also performed like a top-3 pitcher in Major League Baseball through his first 11 starts. If it wasn’t for Jacob deGrom, Wheeler would likely be viewed as the leading Cy Young favorite in the National League.
While there’s still plenty of time for things to shuffle around between now and the All-Star Game (set to be held in Colorado this year), getting “Wheels” to it feels like a must as things currently stand. It’s also worth highlighting that Wheeler has yet to appear in an ASG throughout his seven-year career, which feels like a borderline crime considering just how great he’s been for Philadelphia since signing with them.