The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) announced on Monday that Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, while his teammate, pitcher Zack Wheeler, is a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award.
Harper being named a NL MVP finalist is no surprise, as the Philadelphia right fielder had one of the best seasons of his career in 2021. In 141 games, he slashed .309/.429/.615, belted 35 home runs, and led the majors in doubles (42), slugging percentage (.615), OPS (1.044), and OPS+ (179).
His second-half underscored his MVP case, batting .338/.476/.713 with 20 homers, 50 RBI, 28 doubles, and 65 walks in 311 plate appearances. Should Harper win the award, it would be the second time in his career he was named the NL MVP, his first one coming in 2015 with the Washington Nationals.
Harper has racked up a handful of accolades for his performance in 2021 already, including the MLBPA NL Outstanding Player Award and the St. Louis Sports Commission's Musial Award for his "sportsmanship, class, and character." He has also been named a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award, along with teammate J.T. Realmuto, and the Hank Aaron Award.
Harper will go up against San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatís, Jr. and Nationals' Juan Soto for the award. The MVP Award winners will be announced on Nov. 18 on MLB Network.
Wheeler being a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award is also not shocking, as his season was the best of his career, and exactly why the Phillies offered him a five-year, $118 million deal in 2019.
Wheeler's 247 strikeouts led the NL, while his innings pitched (213.1), batters faced (849), complete games (3), and shutouts (2) led MLB. Additionally, his 2.78 ERA and 1.01 WHIP ranked fifth overall in the majors in 2021. As a result, he was selected to his first All-Star Game.
This would be the first Cy Young Award of Wheeler's career should he win. Like Harper, Wheeler was also named a finalist for the MLBPA NL Outstanding Pitcher Award, but lost to Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer. Wheeler also lost out on his first Gold Glove Award nomination to Atlanta Braves' Max Fried.
Wheeler will compete with Scherzer and Milwaukee Brewers' Corbin Burnes for the award. The Cy Young Award winners will be announced on Nov. 17 on MLB Network.
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