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June 29, 2023

10 awards for the Phillies at the halfway point of the season

Which Phillies have been the best, and worst, so far in 2023?

We've reached the mathematical midpoint of the 2023 regular season and the Phillies are hanging in there at five games over .500. 

Last year they won 87 games and just slid into the postseason. This season, they're on an 84-win pace and will need to be just a little bit better in the second half of the year to set up an opportunity to defend their National League title. 

Which players (or groups of players) are deserving of recognition at the halfway point? We've got 10 awards for the Phillies after 81 games:

Team MVP: Nick Castellanos 🤝

Castellanos had a down year in 2022 but he bounced back in a big way in 2023 and has been the Phillies' best hitter all season long. He might be just a bit off the MVP trail (Luis Arráez, Fernando Tatís, Acuña Jr., and others are the leaders there) but he's certainly in the conversation thanks to his play at the plate.

CategoryStatNL Rank
Batting average.3144th
Total hits954th
Total bases1519th
Offensive WAR2.411th

Team LVP: The 5th starter spot 🤮

The Phillies are 3-11 in 14 games started by Bailey Falter, Cristopher Sánchez, or the bullpen this season. They are 39-26 in all other games. All they really need to make the playoffs, if everything stays the same, is a starting pitcher in the fifth slot who can give the Phillies chance at winning half his starts. If you combine the stats of Falter, Sánchez, and a few other openers (not including Matt Strahm's stats from starting), you get a 6.10 ERA. The front office will be prioritizing this ahead of the August 1st trade deadline, and the hope is they'll either trade for a solid middle of the order pitcher or have a top prospect like Andrew Painter filling in the final spot in the rotation.

Rookie Young player of the year: Bryson Stott

The Phillies have not gotten any real contributions from any rookies this season (so far), and they have just two players 25 or younger, Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott. So what the hell, let's use this space to recognize the daycare kid himself in Stott, who opened the year with a 17-game hitting streak. Overall, he's continued to be an invaluable piece of the Phillies' offense, batting .294 as an everyday player, second-best on the club.

Silver slugger: Alec Bohm

The Phillies' big infielder is second on the team in runs batted in, and he's done it in just 66 games with a stint on the injured list. Bohm has been a solid contributor all year, with his 47 RBI, but it is his clutch numbers that have earned him this award. Philly has struggled all year with runners in scoring position, but Bohm has not, hitting a Phillies-best .325 with RISP, and a team-best 25 hits in those spots. 

Gold glove: J.T. Realmuto

If the eye test wasn't enough, Realmuto has been incredible behind the plate, as always. He has a .998 fielding percentage, has thrown out 13 base stealers, and has just three total passed balls on his ledger. He's also got the best defensive metrics on the team from range factor per nine to total zone runs fielding above average.

Cy Young: Zack Wheeler

It's nice to have that guy who can trot to the mound every five days and pitch like an ace. And that's how Wheeler has been this year after an inconsistent start. Wheeler has given up just six homers all year and has a 10.2 strikeout rate per nine innings (12th best in the majors). His K to BB rate is 10th best and his fielding independent pitching is 2.77, the third best of every pitcher in baseball. He's keeping runners off base and the Phillies are 10-6 in his starts.

Cy Yuk: Aaron Nola

Nola has gotten run support and has kept the Phillies in games this year, as can be seen with his 7-5 record, team-leading 105.2 innings pitched, and underwhelming 4.51 ERA. However, the one-time Cy Young contender hasn't been dominant. In 2023 he is surrendering a career-worst home run rate (1.3 per nine) as well as his lowest strikeout rate since his rookie year (8.7 per nine). He's also equaled his total walks issued from last year (29) in half as many starts.

Most improved player: Brandon Marsh

Marsh has had hot streaks and slumps during his third MLB season, but the Phillies are getting more than they hoped for from the 25-year-old.

HR, RBI11, 527, 32
Total bases163106

The Phillies have been a team surprisingly lacking in power this year, so Marsh and his 24 extra-base hits (he had 33 all of last year between the Angels and Phils) have been a big boost. 

Comeback player of the year: Bryce Harper

His home run drought notwithstanding, the fact that Harper is playing baseball right now, and has been since May, is remarkable. He had Tommy John surgery after the World Series last fall and is hitting .279 as the Phillies' DH. 

Reliever of the year: Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel has really been everything the Phillies have wanted this season. His 3.94 ERA is fine — but his 52 strikeouts (to just 14 walks) and team-leading 1.063 WHIP emphasize how effective he's been during end-of-game scenarios.

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