Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler, as expected, has been named an All-Star for the first time in his career, as he has put together one of the most dominant first halves in franchise history.
J.T. Realmuto has also been named to his third All-Star game in the last four years. He’ll serve as the National League’s reserve at catcher.
While his numbers on offense and defense are down relative to previous years, Realmuto is still having a solid season. He ranks sixth in fWAR among catchers (1.9) despite missing time earlier in the year due to injury. So far this season, Realmuto has slashed .263/.359/.446 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. His selection was a surprise considering that Dodgers catcher Will Smith and Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez have better numbers than Realmuto this season.
For Wheeler, this is his first trip to the midsummer classic. The 31-year-old is 6-4 with a 2.05 ERA, 2.28 FIP and 4.2 fWAR. Among qualified starting pitchers, Wheeler trails only former New York Mets teammate Jacob deGrom in FIP and fWAR. He leads baseball in innings pitched (114) and strikeouts (139).
After pitching in parts of five seasons with the division-rival Mets, the Phillies signed Wheeler to a five-year/$118 million contract ahead of the 2020 season. Long seen as one of the most gifted pitchers in the sport, Wheeler has put everything together in 2021.
His teammate, Brad Miller, said after a win Friday that if not for deGrom having a historically-dominant season, we’d be talking about Wheeler in the National League Cy Young and MVP races.
“It’s amazing,” Miller said of Wheeler’s season thus far. “I think obviously with deGrom doing what he’s doing, it [Wheeler’s season] doesn’t get talked about enough because deGrom has been amazing and historic. But what our guy is doing is Cy Young, MVP – it’s all of it. Some of his starts, if I’m not starting, he’s just on the corners with power stuff, it’s incredible. I love his demeanor. He’s a workhorse, and yeah, it’s been really special to get to watch him pitch every five days.”
This marks the first time since 2013 the Phillies have sent more than one representative to the All-Star game. Both Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown represented the Phillies in the midsummer classic at Citi Field.
The National League will host the American League at Coors Field on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Destiny Lugardo contributed to this story.
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