2. Bryce Harper, 2021 Phillies
Bryce Harper signed a 13-year mega-deal with the Phillies in 2019, so expectations were high.
After a slow start that first season, he gave the Phillies’ fans what they expected. He hit 35 home runs, knocked in 114 runs, and provided the highlight of the year with the “Oh my God” walk-off grand slam to defeat the Cubs.
But it was the 2021 season that earns him the number-two spot on the list. Harper overcame a 97-mph fastball off his face, along with other nagging injuries to put together an MVP season.
Harper put up numbers over the last two months of the season that would have made Babe Ruth proud. When all was said in done, Harper hit 35 home runs (for the second time in three years), scored 101 runs, and walked 100 times. He led the league in doubles with a .615 on-base percentage, 1.044 OPS, and a career-high 42 doubles.
1. Ryan Howard, 2006 Phillies
After getting a chance to play when Jim Thome went down with an injury in 2005, Ryan Howard took full advantage of the opportunity.
He hit .288 with 22 home runs in 88 games, good enough to win NL Rookie of the Year. In his first full season in 2006, Howard couldn’t be contained by NL pitching. He crushed the franchise single-season home run mark of 48 set by Mike Schmidt in 1980.
Howard was on a pace to surpass 60 home runs, finishing the season with 58 to go along with 149 RBI, both leading the league. In addition, he hit .313 with an OPS of 1.084. Howard’s efforts earned him NL MVP honors.