Harper led the National League in slugging percentage (.615), OPS (1.044), OPS+ (179), and doubles (42) while also being in the top three in walks (100), batting average (.309), and on-base percentage (.429). The MV3 had a strong first half for the Phillies before turning it on big time going into the second half. Harper hit 20 home runs while going for a ridiculous 219 OPS+ on the half, single-handedly keeping the Phillies within the playoff picture deep into September.
No wonder he has a history of back issues with how much he has carried the Phillies as of late.
|Player||1st Place Votes||2nd Place Votes||Points|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||2||5||15|
For more on how the votes were cast among Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) writers, click here
The Latest of Many Honors for Harper
The NL MVP is the piece de resistance on the many honors Harper has received this offseason. In late October, Harper was named National League Player of the Year as voted on in the Players Choice Awards, a series of awards voted on and handed out by Harper’s peers among the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Ryan Howard was the last Phillies player to receive the honor in 2006 following his MVP-caliber season.
Harper next was named the National League recipient of the Hank Aaron Award on November 9th, given each year to the best offensive player in the league in honor of the late Hank Aaron. The last Phillie to receive this honor? The Big Piece, of course, in 2006!
Then, on November 11th, Harper earned one of three Silver Slugger honors among NL outfielders. Soto was also honored in the outfield while Tatis Jr. earned the honor among NL shortstops. J.T. Realmuto was the last Phillie to be named a Silver Slugger in 2019.
Adding these awards in, Harper is now a two-time MVP, two-time Hank Aaron Award recipient, two-time Silver Slugger, a two-time MLBPA Outstanding Player of the Year, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, and a six-time All-Star (though not in 2021).
The Right Choice Was Made
Oh, and did we forget that Bryce got drilled in the face by a 97-mph fastball in April?
His season could have ended right there. It didn’t. Harper could have began to pack it in when the Phillies began to collapse in the second half. He did not. Instead, he single-handedly maintained the Phillies’ postseason relevance deep into the season while the rest of the team underperformed. Harper is also only the fourth outfielder in Major League Baseball history to record at least 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles, and 35 home runs in a single season. The other outfielders to do so?
Not to mention that Harper’s MVP chances were essentially on a lock the second that Michael Jack Schmidt was announced to be the one to read out the winner on MLB Network. The former three-time MVP has not been shy about his support for Harper this season, penning a piece for the Associated Press stating him as the obvious choice, going as far as to call him a “Pete Rose with power.”
“Bryce Harper is an enigma. You either love him or hate him, as they say. He plays every day and he plays hard. He loves pressure and is not afraid to fail, and he puts “it” out there — “it” meaning he knows he’s the center of attention and enjoys being “the man.” Most players don’t have that kind of talent, or don’t want the pressure.”— Michael Jack Schmidt
He continued on by detailing just how much of an impact Harper has had on the city, fully engraining himself into the culture of the City of Brotherly Love. The city of Philadelphia has responded in kind, fully supporting Harper every step of the way.
“Harper and his team have done it the right way in Philly. Branding geniuses have given Harper to the fans as a gift. He plays to the crowd, he wears wild colors, his people know just how to accessorize him and create memorabilia-themed for all occasions. For every Schmidt jersey, there are 10 Harpers.”— Michael Jack Schmidt
Michael Jack has spoken. The BBWAA has spoken. The tribe has spoken. Congratulations to Bryce Harper for an incredible season and earning his second MVP award. There was no other race this offseason that was so clear-cut as Harper is, in fact, the Most Valuable Player currently on a Major League Baseball roster.
All hail the king. Bryce Harper has regained his throne.