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Phillies' Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler Named Finalists For Two Major MLB Awards

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Phillies' postseason drought may have reached 10 years in 2021, but two of their top players may be taking home some serious hardware this offseason for their performances.

On Monday night, right fielder Bryce Harper was named a finalist for the 2021 NL MVP and starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, a Cy Young finalist.

Harper has already been recognized by his peers, winning the 2021 NL Most Outstanding Player in the Players Choice Awards on Oct. 28. It was the second time he won the award, winning it in 2015 when he won his first MVP award while a member of the Washington Nationals.

In his third season with Philadelphia, Harper almost single-handedly ended the Phillies' postseason drought with one of the best seasons ever in franchise history.

Harper led the major leagues in OPS (1.044), slugging percentage (.615) and was tied for the MLB lead in doubles with 42, which was also a career-high and most in the National League. His .429 on-base percentage was second in all of baseball, behind his former Washington teammate, Juan Soto.

The 29-year-old also became the fourth active player to slug his 250th career home run before his 29th birthday, joining Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

In all, Harper finished hitting .309/.429/.615 with 35 home runs, 42 doubles, 84 RBIs, 100 walks, 101 runs and a 179 OPS+. He had a 5.9 WAR by Baseball-Reference standards and a 6.6 WAR by FanGraphs. His .309 average was third in the NL.

Harper would be the sixth Phillie to win the MVP in franchise history and first since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Other Phillies MVPs include Chuck Klein (1932), Jim Konstanty (1950), Mike Schmidt (1980, 1981 and 1986) and Ryan Howard (2006).

The other finalists for the MVP are Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres.

Soto led all of the majors with .465 OBP and 145 walks. Tatis led the NL with 42 homers and was second with a .611 slugging percentage.

Wheeler is looking to become the fifth Phillie to take home the NL Cy Young Award and the first since Roy Halladay in 2010.

The 31-year-old Wheeler had a monster year in his second season with the Phils. Wheeler led the major leagues in innings (213 1/3), complete games (3), shutouts (2) and batters faced (849). He led the NL in strikeouts with 247, finishing one shy of major league leader Robbie Ray's 248.

Wheeler finished 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA, which was fifth in MLB, and 1.008 WHIP. He had a 7.7 WAR by Baseball-Reference standards and a 7.3 WAR by FanGraphs. His 7.7 WAR led all NL players.

"Special. It's one of those things you always shoot for. Just try to go into the season and try to win that award. It means you're the best pitcher in the league," Wheeler said of being named a finalist during a TV interview on MLB Network.

Wheeler joins Corbin Burnes of the Brewers and Max Scherzer of the Nationals/Dodgers as finalists for the NL Cy Young.

Burnes led the NL with a 2.43 ERA, 12.6 K/9 and .521 opponents OPS. Scherzer led the NL with an 0.86 WHIP and .185 opponents batting average and was second in ERA (2.46) and strikeouts (236).

The NL Cy Young Award winner will be announced on Nov. 17. The MVP will be named on Nov. 18.

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