3. Bryce Harper, 2021
Bryce Harper had a season to remember in 2021. He became only the fourth outfielder in MLB history with at least 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles, and 35 home runs in a season, joining Babe Ruth (1921, 1923); Stan Musial (1949); and Barry Bonds (1998). Additionally, since the first MLB All-Star Game was held in 1933, only two other players bested Harper’s 49 extra-base hits and 65 walks in the second half — Bonds (2001) and Jimmie Fox (1938).
Starting in each of the Phillies’ final 72 games of the season, Harper is the first MLB player to slash at least .300/.400/.700 after the All-Star Break (minimum 300 plate appearances) since Bonds (2001), Sammy Sosa (2001), and Ryan Howard (2006).
Harper earns his second career Most Valuable Player Award honor and his first since the 2015 season, then a member of the Washington Nationals. National League MVPs between now and then included third baseman Kris Bryant (2016, Chicago Cubs); outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (2017, Miami Marlins); outfielder Christian Yelich (2018, Milwaukee Brewers); outfielder Cody Bellinger (2019, Los Angeles Dodgers); and first baseman Freddie Freeman (2020, Atlanta Braves).
Earlier this offseason, Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton said that the organization “could not be happier” to have Harper as he continues to “leave his indelible mark” in Major League Baseball. Middleton added: “When we first signed Bryce, we knew we were getting one of the best in the game.
Surely, the best is yet to come for Harper in red pinstripes.