Phillies Nuggets with Tim Kelly

Zack Wheeler becomes first Phillie since Roy Halladay to do this

Zack Wheeler has been dominant in 2021. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Zack Wheeler continued what’s been a dominant start to 2021 Sunday, striking out 12 and allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox, a game that the Phillies would win 6-2.

On the season, Wheeler is now 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 2.56 FIP and 2.2 fWAR. The 30-year-old righty is tied with two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom for the second highest fWAR among pitchers, trailing only Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees.

The Phillies unearthed perhaps an even more telling statistic in terms of how excellent Wheeler has been thus far:

While 2010 was Halladay’s most memorable season as a Phillie, he was perhaps even more dominant in 2011. During his second season in red pinstripes, Halladay set career lows in ERA (2.35) and FIP (2.20), while posting a career-high 8.7 fWAR.

Halladay finished runner-up to Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011, though we’ve argued in the past that the voters may have gotten that one wrong. We also ranked Halladay’s 2011 campaign as the best individual season that a Phillie had during the 2010s.

Expecting Wheeler to match or top what Halladay did in 2011 probably isn’t fair. However, we wrote last week that Wheeler has established himself as a legitimate candidate to make his first All-Star team. And depending upon how deGrom does in his return from the injured list, it’s not out of the question that Wheeler could start the game for the National League.

Girardi on Wheeler

I asked Joe Girardi, who spent 15 years as a big league catcher, what it would have been like to catch for Wheeler.

“I would love to catch him – not now, but when I was younger. He’s got so many weapons and he has really good command. He can dot a fastball down and away, and sometimes I’m not so sure how much that is a focus in power guys. But I would consider him a true power guy, and he has that ability.

“He has the ability to run it off the plate in to right-handers and away from left-handers and get some pretty funny swings. He’s got a good change-up…he’s got good arm action…he’s got a good slider and he’s got a really good curveball that he doesn’t use a ton, but there are times he pulls it out to finish an at-bat. So, I would have loved to catch him, because I think you can be really creative with him.”


  1. Phillies Will Be Forced To Consider Drastic Defensive Overhaul After 2021
  2. Joe Girardi On Concept Of Mercy Rule: ‘I’d Probably Be OK With It’
  3. Zack Wheeler Is Becoming A Legitimate All-Star Candidate
  4. Phillies Update Their Max Policy
  5. Meet The Next Great Phillies Killer
  6. Phillies 2021 Walk-Up Songs
  7. Remember The Ryan Howard-Albert Pujols Trade Rumor?
  8. Jonathan Papelbon Says He Expected To Win 2 World Series With Phillies
  9. Zack Wheeler on Andrew Knapp: ‘He Would Be Starting On Most Teams’
  10. J.T. Realmuto Could Have Been Traded For Another Future Phillie In 2014

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