Phillies: Three reasons Bryce Harper will win the MVP
3. Harper lives for the pressure and attention
Ever since the 16-year-old Harper graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was declared “Baseball’s Chosen One,” Harper has lived in the media’s eye. And when the Nationals needed their superstar to shine brightest, Harper thrived in the moment.
Harper’s first three years in the league were a glimpse into his potential, winning the Rookie of the Year in 2012, and making two All Star appearances. He spent a lot of time batting second, fourth and even sixth, with a dip in production coming in 2014 when he tore a ligament in his thumb.
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However, in 2015, Harper came back with a vengeance. Posting a career high in batting average, and leading the league in home runs, on-base, and slugging percentage, Harper won the 2015 NL MVP, getting 100% of the first-place votes. Funny how in 2015, Harper owned Citizens Bank Park, hitting .345 and five home runs in seven games. He had to be the man in D.C., with the production around him being subpar at best.
Now, with the Phillies in 2019, he is surrounded by all-stars and rising stars, but the media’s eyes are still squarely on him.
Signing the largest contract in MLB history comes with its share of pressure, and I fully expect Harper to rise to the occasion. This time, he’ll have help. And this time, unlike in 2015 when the Nationals only had 83 wins, his production will translate to an NL East championship. Yet his eyes, and the eyes of all of Philadelphia, will be looking to the postseason, where he has yet to make it out of the NLDS.
If Harper’s numbers reflect his career numbers at his new home, if he resembles his 2015 self, and rises to the pressure of his historic contract, nothing will stop him from taking home his second NL MVP trophy.