Philadelphia Phillies Midseason Report Cards: Starting Rotation

Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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It’s hard to believe, but the Philadelphia Phillies‘ season is already more than halfway over. Their second half begins Friday, but they’ve already played 85 games.

In that time, they’ve had walk-offs, pitchers matching MLB records, All-Star performances, rookie debuts, and of course, injuries.

With all that in mind, it’s time to hand out the midseason report cards, starting with the starting rotation.*

*Since the Phillies have used multiple pitchers as starters who are not in the regular rotation, any pitcher with at least five starts gets graded.

Phillies No. 1 Starter: Zack Wheeler

Phillies Zack Wheeler All-Star Game
DENVER, COLORADO – JULY 12: Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies speaks to the media during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

In his second season with the Phillies, Zack Wheeler has been a team’s dream. He has a 2.26 ERA over 18 starts and has struck out 145 batters in 119 2/3 innings.

He’s pitched a complete game against the Brewers, has seven shutout starts, and has gone six or more innings in 14 of his 18 games (he also has two starts of 5 2/3 innings.) Dating back to his first start of June, he has a 1.81 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 44 2/3 innings, and batters are slashing .213/.261/.272 against him with a .533 OPS.

Wheeler’s innings pitched leads all of MLB and he’s third in strikeouts, just a couple of reasons he was an All-Star this month for the first time in his career. His 2.26 ERA is ranked 7th among qualified pitchers. At the end of June, he had the most starts of 7+ scoreless innings in baseball. He also became the first pitcher to have 10 starts of seven or more innings.

Unfortunately for Wheeler, he pitches in the same league as Jacob deGrom – who is having an unreal season of his own yet again – so the Cy Young Award might be out of reach.

The only flaw with Wheeler is that he can’t clone himself so the rotation can just have one Wheeler for every game.

Midseason Grade: A+