Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt will present the 2021 NL MVP award this week, which means Bryce Harper almost certainly won
If this news doesn’t mean Bryce Harper is the 2021 National League MVP, then MLB is really trolling.
On Monday, MLB Network announced that Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt will be virtually presenting the NL MVP award for Thursday’s Baseball Writer’s Association of America awards ceremony. Schmidt played his entire 18-year career for the Phillies and won three MVP awards of his own, including going back-to-back in 1980 and 1981.
The decision to have Schmidt present strongly implies that he’ll be giving the award to a fellow Phillie. The same logic applies to legendary Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench, who will present this year’s NL Rookie of the Year, presumably to current Reds pitcher Jonathan India, and former San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will likely give NL Manager of the Year to his successor, Gabe Kapler.
Harper certainly had a season that merits winning his second MVP award, and first since signing his mega-contract with the Phillies. He led all MLB hitters in slugging, OPS, and OPS+. Schmidt led the National League in those same categories in his first MVP season, but also led in RBI (121) and led MLB with 48 home runs and 342 total bases, both career marks he’d never come close to again. Harper also tied JD Martinez for the lead in doubles, with both sluggers hitting 42 two-baggers, a new career-high for both of them; Schmidt never hit more than 34 in a season, and it wasn’t any of his MVP years.
While this is almost certainly amazing news for Harper, announcing Schmidt as the presenter also effectively took the element of surprise out of an award ceremony everyone waited for all baseball season. So unless this is enormous misdirection, congratulations to Harper.