Barring a late push, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely going to miss the 2021 MLB postseason.
It has been a frustrating year for the club, especially considering the NL East division was there for the taking over the summer.
Unfortunately, the Phillies are at risk of watching the playoffs from home for the 10th straight year.
It can be hard to be optimistic when you’re dealing with a decade-long postseason drought, but there are a few things Phillies fans should be positive about even if the club ends up missing the playoffs.
Here are three of those things.
3. Ranger Suarez Is A Rising Star
Ranger Suarez has had an incredible 2021 season.
He started the year out of the bullpen, and he stayed there until August.
He was dominant as a reliever, pitching to a 1.12 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and .483 opponent OPS over 27 appearances.
His outstanding performance earned him a shot in the rotation around the beginning of August.
He has made 10 starts since the promotion, and the results have been outstanding.
The youngster has a 1.99 ERA, 2.60 FIP, and .586 opponent OPS as a starter.
— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) September 21, 2021
Clearly, the Phillies have something here.
The 26-year-old is the real deal, and he’s under club control until 2026.
That’s great news for Philadelphia.
2. Bryce Harper Is Still An MVP-Caliber Player
If anyone had any doubts about whether or not Bryce Harper was still a superstar player, those doubts have been put to rest this season.
Harper has had the second-best season of his career in 2021.
He’s slashing .312/.432/.618 and leads the league in OPS at 1.050.
He has blasted 33 home runs, 39 doubles, and a triple over 132 games.
The former first-round pick also has a 5.5 WAR, and he is currently the betting favorite to win the NL MVP award according to several sportsbooks.
Harper is 28, and it’s clear that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
But the Phillies can’t afford to waste any more elite seasons of his.
When you have a player producing like this, you need to take advantage of it.
1. The Zack Wheeler Deal Was Clearly The Right Move
When the Phillies signed Zack Wheeler to a massive five-year deal worth $118 million in December of 2019, it was a bit of a gamble.
The team got its first look at Wheeler in a Phillies in uniform in 2020, and the results were great, as he pitched to a 2.92 ERA.
However, the sample size was small (11 starts).
Some fans decided to hold out judgment until Wheeler completed a full season.
And with the 2021 campaign nearly complete, it’s fair to assess the 31-year-old now.
The verdict: He’s an ace.
Wheeler has pitched to a 2.79 ERA, 2.62 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP over 31 starts this season.
He leads the league in strikeouts (240) and has a massive 7.4 WAR.
Zack Wheeler, 99mph Paint. 🖌️🎨 pic.twitter.com/BXCItYHzhn
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 17, 2021
He’ll likely be a top-five finisher in the NL Cy Young race, and he’s very deserving of that.
The Phillies and Wheeler are married until 2025, and it’s safe to say that both sides are happy with the way things have gone so far (aside from the lack of a playoff bid).
Philadelphia would love to see some similar results from the righty in the 2022 campaign and beyond.NEXT: Phillies Gifted With Weak Schedule To Finish The Season