Should Zack Wheeler have won the 2021 Cy Young Award? The Philadelphia Phillies starter led the league in complete games shutouts, innings pitched, strikeouts, and WAR. He was tied with the winner, Corbin Burnes, with 12 first-place votes. Unfortunately, he came up short on other ballots even with many more superior numbers.
Ho-hum. Life goes on.
But for Wheeler, maybe it doesn’t go on. Maybe this is something he’ll take a page out of Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance” and take personally.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler has more fuel than ever to be one of the best.
Wheeler is a guy who seems to take things personally. When the New York Mets moved on from him and former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen commented that he didn’t think Wheeler was worth such a large contract, Wheeler snapped back.
Words are one thing. Going out there and proving yourself is a whole different story.
Wheeler had only 11 starts in 2020 to showcase how much the Mets would miss him. He would go 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in those starts, proving he may become a foe the Mets wouldn’t want to face regularly in their own division.
Following up on his first fantastic year with the Phillies, Wheeler went out and was even better in 2021. With his snubbing in the Cy Young race, maybe we see him come out and do even more spectacular things in 2022.
Zack Wheeler is “Philly tough.”
Although originally from Georgia, there’s a certain kind of “Philly toughness” in Wheeler and the way he carries himself. For many years in New York, he was thought of as a nice young pitcher with a high potential. Injuries got in the way of his development, sidelining him for all of 2015 and 2016 when the Mets made it to the postseason. At the start of 2018, the team had little confidence that he could crack their rotation. However, injuries and underperformances from others paved the path for Wheeler to put together his best year in orange and blue.
The hype for Wheeler, originally a sixth-overall draft pick, was always understandable. He was effective in the minor leagues from the start way back in 2010 as a member of the San Francisco Giants organization. Other than his return from injury campaign in 2017, Wheeler has never completed a professional season with an ERA higher than 4.00.
As if there wasn’t enough of a reason for Zack Wheeler to get better, last fall’s dismissal by the Cy Young voters can only help a guy who seems to revel in proving his doubters wrong. Wheeler has never made it to the postseason. Prior to joining the Philadelphia Phillies, he was just one of many young arms on a staff with promise. Lost as other rose up the ranks in Major League Baseball, Wheeler isn’t your typical $100 million player. He still has something to prove and you better believe he’s not going to settle for second-best.