Philadelphia Phillies Ace Could Win First Cy Young Because Of New Pitch

Despite being one of the best pitchers in the game for many years, the Philadelphia Phillies ace put in work this offseason to develop a new pitch that might earn him his first Cy Young award.
Apr 14, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler (45)
Apr 14, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies got an absolute steal when they handed Zack Wheeler a five-year, $118 million contract to leave the New York Mets in free agency prior to the 2020 season.

After battling some injuries during his tenure with their division rivals, he has been rock solid for the Phillies, leading all starting pitchers in WAR since signing his deal.

Their ace was able to cash in on his performance, earning a three-year, $126 million contract extension with Philadelphia this offseason.

But despite all the money and all the success that Wheeler has had, he wasn't content with just sitting back and preparing like usual for 2024.

He worked on developing a new pitch, something that he thinks will finally win him his first Cy Young award after being runner-up in 2021 and finishing sixth in 2023.

"I think this could put me over the top and hopefully get a Cy Young," he told Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia about his new splitter back in March. "That's what I want to do, and if I can take care of lefties the way I take care of righties, hopefully that'll take care of itself."

Wheeler wanted to adjust after left-handed batters slashed .261/.310/.412 against him last year, the worst he's performed against lefties during his Phillies tenure according to Bailey Digh of Phillies Nation.

The improvements have been immediate.

So far, the splitter has produced a batting average of .100 and whiff rate of 35.9% on 73 thrown pitches. Lefties are slashing .203/.288/.344 against him this season.

Wheeler has also gotten off to another incredible start with an ERA of 1.93 through his six starts.

Whether or not this will be the catalyst that earns him some hardware that would be much deserved will be seen, but Philadelphia is much more dangerous with their ace improving upon what he has done the past few years when he was already dominating hitters.

That's a scary thought for any team facing the star right-hander.

Brad Wakai


Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently is the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. He is also a contributor at FanSided, writing about the Philadelphia 76ers for The Sixers Sense. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai