3 Phillies players who already have our trust entering the 2024 season

As the Philadelphia Phillies prepare for spring training in Clearwater, Florida, we look at three players firmly established in the hearts of fans.
Philadelphia Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are two players who should have full trust heading into 2024
Philadelphia Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are two players who should have full trust heading into 2024 / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Trust can be a funny thing in professional sports, to the point that some individuals can often end up receiving too much or not enough. These scenarios are no different for the Philadelphia Phillies, whether it be the front office, coaches, or fans determining what the trust level should be for certain players.

For the purpose of this article, we're going to stick to when players are actually deserving of the trust they receive. Without further ado, here are three Phillies players who have already done enough to earn the appreciation of everyone connected with the organization ahead of the 2024 season.

Zack Wheeler

First, we turn to the most reliable pitcher on the Phillies staff, Zack Wheeler. He's more than proved value for money since signing a free agent deal at the end of 2019 to come to Philadelphia, for five years and $118 million.

The talent was never in question, but there were some concerns about Wheeler's durability. However, for the most part he's been healthy and available during his four seasons to date with the Phillies, hence only reinforcing the trust in him.

The 33-year-old pretty much earned the confidence of the Phillies faithful almost from the word go during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign. As per Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, he became the first pitcher in club history (subscription required) to allow three or fewer runs in each of his first 10 starts for the team.

Wheeler was even better the following season, in what proved to be a career year. He set a whole host of single-season bests, including 14 wins, a 2.78 ERA, 2.59 FIP and 1.008 WHIP.

The righty additionally proved the doubters wrong about his propensity for getting injured, as he led all pitchers with a career-high 213 1/3 innings. He also led the NL with a career-best 247 strikeouts, as he went on to finish second in NL Cy Young voting.

Wheeler was only slightly below this standard in 2022, as his 2.82 ERA, 2.89 FIP and 1.039 WHIP were all the second-best of his career to date. He more than played his part in helping the Phillies advance to their first World Series since 2009.

Despite the emergence of Aaron Nola, any doubt about the Phillies' staff ace was put to bed last season. Wheeler proved to be the very personification of reliable, and then some.

The 2009 sixth overall draft pick equaled his career high of 32 starts, as he went 13-6 and finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting. He produced a 3.61 ERA, 3.15 WHIP, and 1.078 WHIP while throwing the second-most strikeouts of his career and setting a new single-season low with a 5.0 percent walk rate.

Wheeler was even more effective during the postseason, recording a 1.95 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 27 2/3 combined innings. He was tremendous in the NLCS as he went 2-0 in two starts, producing a 1.84 ERA and 0.750 WHIP, to have the Phillies on the verge of another World Series before they collapsed in Games 6 and 7.

The Smyrna, Georgia native also became the first Phillies pitcher since 1981 to win a Gold Glove Award, to cap a wonderful individual 2023 campaign. If anyone deserves to receive complete and utter trust — and loyalty — from Phillies fans, it's Wheeler.