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Bryce Harper’s Carrying The Phillies To His Second MVP

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Now that Jacob deGrom has been lost in the second half of the season and Fernando Tatis Jr’s Padres have plummeted out the NL West race, Bryce Harper has suddenly catapulted into the driver’s seat for NL MVP. He’s been widely considered a one-dimensional power bat over the years that could be managed by opposing teams by help of the shift, but his recent ability to hit the ball where it’s been pitched has carried the Phillies.

Harper is now hitting .301 with 28 homers, 66 RBIs, 74 walks, and just 108 punch outs. He’s completely reinvented his approach at the plate, which has returned the six-time All-Star to MVP form.

Bryce Harper is a superstar again and deserves to win National League MVP for carrying the Phillies.

Part of his resurgence, as I previously stated, is because of Harper’s willingness to defeat the defensive shift. We can argue until the sun goes down whether the shift is fair or even good for baseball, however the 28-year-old outfielder decided to take matters into his own hands before begging for a rule change. Bryce Harper is no longer a free-swinging power bat that needed complementary pieces to make the Philadelphia Phillies go. HE is the main ingredient, and the rest of that team needs him to stay afloat.

Philadelphia is now somehow just 1.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves, who have a plethora of bats to terrorize the National League East. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has hit 26 homers, Austin Riley has become a staple at third base, hitting over .300 with 29 homers of his own, and second baseman Ozzie Albies has been his usual menacing self. Atlanta has plenty of pieces around Freddie Freeman to put him in better position to lead the team. That’s not necessarily his fault, but the team around a player during his MVP season’s should matter.

What does Bryce Harper have that’s making this breakout season happen? If anything, baseball analysts could argue a struggling Andrew McCutchen hitting lead-off, a disappointing campaign from shortstop Didi Gregorius, and an abysmal bullpen, which together have made the Phillies’ presence near the top of the division nothing short of a Bryce Harper carry. And I argue that’s exactly what we’re seeing in Philly, and Bryce Harper is the MVP because of that. There’s simply no reason for the Philadelphia Phillies to be approaching first place other than No. 34 in red pinstripes.

It’s time for Mr. Harper to be recognized as a two-time MVP. For once, MLB writers, let’s get this right.

 

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

9 Comments

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  1. Garry, I gotta respectfully disagree with you on this one.

    .301avg, 28hrs and 66 RBI’s are not earth shattering #’s and he’s not even in the top 10 for combined WAR. I get other notable players in contention MAY have better lineup protection but I’d also say he’s in one of the weakest divisions this year with the best pitchers either traded away or hurt.

    Overall I’d say he’s lucky to be in the NL because he wouldn’t even be considered in the AL with those #’s.

    Lastly and full disclosure as a Nats fan, I fully admit I’m biased against Harper. Not for leaving, but for the way he left and his phony persona and comments against DC thereafter. But hey, he’ll always be the honorary 2019 World Series MVP for the Nationals. Turned out he was the missing link to the championship equation… as soon as he left we won it all. Addition by subtraction.

    • He hit further up the order than the remaining candidates, which massively impacted his RBI #’s. The end of your point proves your bias is the source for dismissing my conclusion that Harper is the National League MVP. I stand by my take as I have no horse in this race.

      • I didn’t dismiss your conclusion, but merely disagreed. I added my disclaimer to lend credence to your take and to keep from drinking my own Kool-Aid.

        In any event, thank you for continuing to write/talk about baseball. I wish others in the media would do the same.

    • I agree with your last paragraph Johnny. The Nats got better after Harper left. I don’t miss him at all.
      I’m rooting for the Phills this year because I don’t like the Braves and can’t stand any New York team.
      The Phillies need their bullpen to get the job done. They have a weak schedule to finish the season, so maybe this will be their year.

  2. Pretty sure it will be Tatis. Though if the Phillies win their division and the Padres miss the playoffs Harper could catch Tatis.

    Now for my bias. The Dodgers have an MVP candidate and Cy Young candidate they received in the same trade this year, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer:

    Trea is leading the NL in B.A. and SB, while also hitting 21 HR and top 5 in runs scored. He’ll probably end up behind Tatis and Harper in votes.

    Otoh, Scherzer should now be in the Cy Young lead and putting some distance between him and his closest competitors, notably teammate Buehler. Scherzer has been just incredible since joining the Dodgers. He as the best ERA, WHIP and average against in the MLB. Nobody touches DeGrom, but he’s not pitched enough to be considered.

    • I think it’s Tatis then everyone else. No one changes a game like that guy. He’s played injured all year and is still going to have 40 jacks and 100 rbi and close to 30 steals.

      Harper doesn’t drive in enough runs to be hitting third in a lineup for me. He gets a lot of pad numbers, but doesn’t get Philly the clutch hits when they need him to step up and produce runs. He should have 90 rbi by now instead of 66, but gets most of his power numbers with no one on (21 of 28 homers are solo).

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