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Zack Wheeler finishes a close second in NL Cy Young Award voting

Zack Wheeler just completed his second season with the Phillies.(Cheryl Pursell)

Despite putting together one of the finest seasons in Philadelphia Phillies history, Zack Wheeler fell short in his quest to win the 2021 National League Cy Young Award, finishing in second place in voting.

Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes captured the award, posting a 2.43 ERA, 1.63 FIP, 176 ERA+ and 7.5 fWAR in 2021, all of which were best among National League starting pitchers. Burnes did throw 46 1/3 less innings than Wheeler’s 213 1/3 this season, but his dominance over the innings that he did pitch ultimately won out.

That said, Wheeler finished within 10 points of Burnes:

Two writers from each NL city got a vote. Both writers from Philadelphia that voted on this award — Todd Zolecki of and Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer — gave their first place vote to Wheeler.

Even without a Cy Young Award, Wheeler realized the front-line potential that he flashed in five seasons with the New York Mets during his first All-Star campaign. Wheeler led baseball in innings pitched and strikeouts, while finishing in a tie for the most complete games (three) and complete-game shutouts (two) in the sport.

The 7.3 fWAR that Wheeler posted in 2021 has only been topped by three Phillies in the last 50 years, two of whom are in the Hall of Fame:

Wheeler is the first Phillie since 2018 to be a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award, as his current teammate Aaron Nola finished third in voting that season. The late Roy Halladay remains the last Phillie to capture the NL Cy Young Award, as the Hall of Famer won it in 2010.


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  1. Thomas J Gaitens

    November 19, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Zach got robbed! That is it
    46 more innings, in fact, if you remove the same amount of innings all from the last month, Zach’s numbers are ungodly. He hit a wall the last month, and it showed. had he gone on IR for a 10 day stint, could have finished stronger and blown this away. Had he simply taken the last month off, shut down, he would have blown it away!

    Stolen valor

  2. Tim Farrell

    December 6, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Wheeler should have won the award. His IP should have meant something, but the voters discounted that. Pitching 46 innings less? What a joke.

    Burns had a HUGE advantage pitching for the Brewers. He had better defense, but, more importantly, he had Brent Suter, Devin Williams and Josh Hader waiting in the wings to pitch EFFECTIVELY in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Burns could go “full bore” for his 5-6 innings and head for the showers, knowing his mates would finish the job. Wheeler had no such luxury and his effectiveness in the late innings dropped like a stone. He was tasked with carrying the Phillies while Burns didn’t have that task and it showed in the stats.

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