Philadelphia Phillies: 5 bold predictions for 2021 season

Bryce Harper #3 and Alec Bohm #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 and Alec Bohm #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

2. Bryce Harper will lead the NL in both walks and on-base percentage.

For the second time in three years, Bryce Harper led the majors in walks in 2020. Going back to his MVP season in 2015, he had the second-most walks in the National League and led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage.

In fact, for National League rankings, Harper was in the top-five for walks in five of the last six seasons and top-ten for on-base percentage in three of the last six seasons. His 49 walks during the 2020 season came just shy of his 51 hits, while his .420 on-base percentage ranked fourth in the National League.

light. Related Story. Phillies 2020 Season Player Grades: Bryce Harper

It appears like pitchers are still trying to work around Harper, despite a sub-.270 batting average in four of the last five years. Maybe it’s not a matter of pitcher strategy and it’s Harper being a secret genius at drawing walks? It doesn’t seem like his recent hitting slumps have stopped the number of bases on balls issued to him. During the 2020 season, he had at least one walk in 35 of 58 games, at least one hit in 36 games and at least one hit and one walk in 21 games.

Harper’s batting average has gotten better in his first two seasons with the Phillies and he continually ranks high in walks, so it’s a little surprising that he’s yet to lead the league in both walks and on-base percentage in the same year.

If he can continue to draw walks at the same level and can improve his batting average slightly, 2021 could change that.