Wheeler takes home first career Gold Glove, 3 Phillies don't win

Wheeler takes home first career Gold Glove, 3 Phillies don't win originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies had four finalists for Gold Glove awards, all up the middle, and came away with one. Zack Wheeler was named the 2023 National League Gold Glove pitcher on Sunday night.

It's the first Gold Glove of Wheeler's career, his first yearly individual award of any kind. He was the NL Cy Young runner-up in 2021 and also made the All-MLB team that year. He pitched well enough again in 2023 to earn consideration, but free-agent-to-be Blake Snell is viewed as the favorite.

Wheeler completely controlled the running game all season. He made 32 starts and opposing base stealers went just 3-for-7, even with the new limit on pick-offs and bigger bases. Teams didn't even test him in the playoffs until the Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the NLCS when Wheeler entered late in relief.

The other two NL finalists on the mound were Wheeler's Phillies teammate Taijuan Walker and Marlins lefty Jesus Luzardo. Walker had the most effective pick-off move of any right-hander, nabbing six, the most in the majors for a righty.

The irony is that the Phillies' best defensive pitcher, by far, is Ranger Suarez, who wasn't nominated because he did not meet the innings requirement of 138 by his team's 138th game. Suarez finished with 125.

Gold Glove awards are voted on by MLB managers and coaches. The Phillies' four finalists were Wheeler and Walker, catcher J.T. Realmuto and second baseman Bryson Stott. The nod at catcher went to Arizona's Gabriel Moreno, while Nico Hoerner of the Cubs won at second base.

Realmuto has won twice before. Stott excelled in his first full year at second base and should see more nominations in the future.

The Phillies improved substantially on defense as the 2023 season progressed. Once Bryce Harper claimed first base and Kyle Schwarber shifted to designated hitter, they went from neutral to above average. Realmuto and Stott are plus defenders at their positions and so is Johan Rojas, who the Phillies want to see earn the everyday center field job next season by showing offensive improvement.