Phillies: Joe Girardi has MVP hopes for Bryce Harper in 2021

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies may have 15 Grapefruit League games still remaining on their 2021 spring training slate, but star outfielder Bryce Harper looked as ready as he will ever be in the team’s 9-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Spanning two at-bats, the six-time All-Star collected a double and home run, two RBI, and a walk, while totaling six bases and scoring three runs on the base paths. Harper went hitless in his prior nine spring at-bats, totaling five strikeouts, but during his spring debut on March 5 opposite the Pittsburgh Pirates, he slugged another home run.

Joe Girardi doesn’t want to predict numbers regarding Phillies OF Bryce Harper.

After Saturday’s matinee, Phillies manager Joe Girardi was asked by reporters as to what statistical expectations he has for Harper in his upcoming third season wearing red pinstripes. The 2009 World Series skipper replied that he never likes to put numbers on someone like Harper, because he thinks sometimes it keeps them from exceeding the figures.

“I want Bryce to be as productive as he can be,” Girardi said. “Whatever that is, that’s what we want. If he’s productive, he’s going to have a good year. That’s the bottom line. I just want a healthy Bryce that does his thing.”

Girardi added that he has the same thought process when asked how many wins he thinks the team as a whole will produce in a given season. “I think putting a number on it is a limitation,” he said. “That’s how I feel.”

Related Story. Phillies: Joe Girardi has high praise for Bryce Harper. light

Joe Girardi thinks an MVP season from Bryce Harper is not out of the question.

The Phillies have solely used Harper in the designated hitter spot so far, as they ease the 28-year-old back in after he dealt with a lingering back issue during the 2020 season. The best-case scenario is that Harper is healthy and ready to go come Opening Day on April 1. If so, Girardi thinks that the outfielder is poised to put up stellar numbers as the team looks to make the postseason for the first time in a decade.

“We’re going to look up at the end of the year and say, ‘He had a really good year,'” Girardi said. “Maybe an MVP year.”

More. Phillies: Cole Hamels free agency news quiet as season nears. light