Which Phillies player has been the most valuable to the team so far?
The 2022 Philadelphia Phillies are playing exciting baseball since interim manager Rob Thomson replaced Joe Girardi in early June. While many players have contributed to their recent success, some have been more valuable than others.
It should come as no surprise that Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler top the list for Phillies pitchers — both with 4.4 WAR as of Saturday. The only other pitchers in baseball that outranked them were Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins (6.2), and Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves (4.6). Both Phillies right-handers also ranked top 10 in the league in K/9 and K/BB, with Nola leading in the latter.
Nola went on to throw his fourth-career complete game in the second of a three-game pivotal road series against the New York Mets. While the Phillies fell 1-0 opposite future Hall of Fame right-hander Jacob deGrom, Nola kept the team in striking distance the entire game.
On offense, J.T. Realmuto led the team entering Saturday with 3.7 WAR, followed by Rhys Hoskins (2.7). It is no secret that Realmuto struggled offensively for the first few months of the season, yet after his current hot streak, he still ranked fourth among catchers with a .777 OPS.
According to Jayson Stark, Realmuto also recently became the first catcher to homer and triple in consecutive games in the Modern Era:
Hoskins has had a successful season as well. As of Saturday, his .822 OPS was good for 10th among first basemen in baseball. Hoskins has always been known to be streaky, but he is having another solid year for the Phillies at the plate.
These figures are a good indication of how a player is performing. Fans have to be excited about the contributions that the club is getting from almost every player on the roster. Players — such as Ranger Suarez, Alec Bohm, Matt Vierling, and Bryson Stott — are not league leaders in any of the aforementioned statistics, but each has been key to the team’s success. It is also noteworthy that the Phillies have been without 2021 National League MVP Bryce Harper since late June.
So, who can be considered the team’s “most valuable player” so far this season? Stats that emphasize value — such as WAR — would indicate the answer to be Nola and Wheeler.
Nola having a rebound season after a subpar 2021 campaign is something the Phillies needed to compete this year. Wheeler is continuing to dominate a season after contending for the National League Cy Young Award, and will face his former team in Sunday’s series finale against the Mets. Both have been integral in forming a formidable rotation that can compete in the regular season and, hopefully postseason.