For Whom The Bell Tolls: Wheeler and J.T. Will Represent the Phillies In The All-Star Game.
It wasn't all bad news for the #Phillies on Sunday. After an embarrassing 11-1 blowout loss to the San Diego Padres, #MLB announced the all-star reserves for both the American and National league rosters. As the Phillies were licking their wounds in retreat, the team found out that Zack Wheeler and J.T. Realmuto would represent the team at the all-star game.
The fact that the Fightins are only sending two representatives is not surprising in the least, and to hear that Wheeler and J.T. are the ones who were picked is even less of a head-scratcher. While the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game were named on Thursday and picked by the fans, the reserve list came down on Sunday. Both of the Phillies members are well deserving, especially Zack Wheeler.
In fact, if this were any other season, not a season featuring Jake deGrom playing the Superman role, one could make a case that Zack Wheeler has been the best pitcher in baseball. His numbers speak for themselves. In 17 starts and 114.0 IP, Zack is 6-4 with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He also leads MLB with 139 Strikeouts while only walking 24. Wheeler also boasts one complete game shutout among his dominance. But if there is one word that describes his greatness better than any other, that would be consistency.
Zack becomes the first Phillies RHP to make an all-star squad since Aaron Nola last did so in 2018. Meanwhile, J.T. Realmuto has been named to his second consecutive birth. Of course, the last Phillies catcher to be named to the Summer Classic was Carlos Ruiz. While Wheeler's selection was a stone-cold lock, J.T.'s was a little less of a guarantee.
Realmuto has had an up and down year, although he has battled some injuries. However, he has still put up solid numbers as a catcher. In 64 games played thus far, J.T. is batting .263 with 8HR, 28 Runs, 30RBI, .357OBP%, .431SLG%, and a .788OPS%. His offensive numbers are slightly down from his normal rate but still rank among the leaders at the position. However, his defense has been slightly below his career rate.
No doubt picking all-stars in all professional sports leagues has become somewhat of a crapshoot. Let's face it, the fan voting for starters is often biased and geared towards the winning teams. And then, in contrast, the reserves are picked in a way that every team has to be represented. So many times, players that often deserve to make the team are left on the cutting room floor. Likewise, when players make the team more so due to name-value instead of having the numbers to back it up!
Nonetheless, it is what it is at this point when it comes to these glorified best-of lists.
Overall, it appears that MLB has done a good job with Phillie's selections. Of course, many will be shocked that another big name has been left off of the list. Bryce Harper did not hear his name called when the fireworks hit the stage. The problem is that there are so many good choices at the outfield position, and frankly, Harper's numbers aren't that good. Truth be told, Bryce has had a somewhat disappointing year, and it's probably good that he will be getting much-needed rest.
So take a look at the Phillies representatives, and one thing definitely stands out. Wheeler is most certainly the lock, while J.T. is the question mark. If one wanted to complain, they could argue that Will Smith of the Dodgers has better offensive numbers than Realmuto. In fact, his .250 CS% is also slightly above J..T., who comes in ranked 9th in the metric at .227%. In hindsight, Smith probably deserved the nod more in this case. Let the debates begin, folks. Where do you stand on this? Who would your team consist of? Wait, did the Phillies lose 11-1? Haha...
But at any rate, the Fightins can celebrate at least one thing. While the team continues to embarrass themselves on the field, they can now find solace in the fact that two of their own will find homes at the midsummer classic. One can only hope that the Phillies find their groove in the summer heat, or else we are in for a very long summer. For those about to rock...we SALUTE YOU! Congrats J.T. and Zack. The bell has rung, and your ticket has been punched!