Bryce Harper was named Monday as a finalist for the National League’s MVP Award and Zack Wheeler is a finalist for the Cy Young, giving the Phillies a chance to sweep baseball’s two-most prominent awards for the first time since 1980.
Harper ranked first this season in the NL in OPS (1.044) and slugging percentage (.615), second in on-base percentage (.429), third in average (.309), and sixth in homers (35). Wheeler led the majors in innings (213⅓) and topped the NL with 247 strikeouts. His ERA (2.78) ranked fifth in the NL.
In 1980, Mike Schmidt won the MVP while Steve Carlton won the Cy Young. Harper and Wheeler being finalists guarantees that both will finish third or better in voting. The Phillies last had two top-three vote getters in 1983 when Schmidt finished third for the MVP and John Denny won the Cy Young.
Harper is joined by Washington’s Juan Soto and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. as finalists for the MVP, which will be awarded on Nov. 18. Harper bested both of them last month for the MLBPA’s NL Outstanding Player Award, which is based on player voting. Harper and Soto are finalists for the Hank Aaron Award, which will be announced Tuesday and is awarded to the top offensive player in each league.
Harper started each of the Phillies’ final 72 games and his .713 slugging percentage and 49 extra-base hits led MLB in the second half. His 1.188 second-half OPS is the third highest in Phillies history among hitters with at least 200 plate appearances, trailing only Ryan Howard’s 1.259 OPS in 2006 and Schmidt’s 1.214 OPS in 1981.
The Cy Young winner will be announced on Nov. 17 and the other two finalists are Max Scherzer of the Dodgers and Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes. Burnes led the majors in ERA (2.43) and Scherzer was second at 2.46. Scherzer led the majors in WHIP (0.86) and Burnes was second at 0.94.
Wheeler pitched at least six innings in 27 of his 32 starts and led all NL pitchers in WAR. He struck out 247 batters, joining Steve Carlton and Jim Bunning as the only pitchers in Phillies history to record an ERA of 2.78 or better while also recording as many strikeouts and innings as Wheeler did.
Harper is the first Phillies player to be a finalist for the MVP since Ryan Howard finished third in 2009. Wheeler is the first Phils pitcher to be a finalist for the Cy Young since Aaron Nola finished third in 2018.
Early starting times
The Phillies announced that home games next season will start at 6:45 p.m. for Monday through Thursday night games in April, May, and September. Last season, the Phillies averaged the fifth-longest average game (3 hours, 17 minutes) in the majors.
The team also announced that spring-training tickets go on sale on Nov. 10 and regular-season tickets go on sale Nov. 19.