Only one player can stop Phillies' Bryce Harper from starting the All-Star Game

The Phillies superstar is in tough against a Dodgers star for the NL starting first baseman gig.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper / John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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With voting for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game well underway, at least one Philadelphia Phillies player will be heading to Globe Life Field in Arlington. There will likely be more than one Phillie named to the National League team, but first baseman Bryce Harper looks to be guaranteed a spot.

He’s having a typical Harper-esque season, now that he’s fully healthy again, and will be recognized for his performance. The only question at this point is if the two-time MVP, known as "The Showman," will be the starting first baseman or if he'll be suiting up for the NL as a reserve.

Only one player can stop Phillies' Bryce Harper from starting the All-Star Game

There’s only one player who will stand in his way: Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. The race between Harper and Freeman was featured by MLB.com’s Will Leitch as one of the toughest decisions on the All-Star ballot this year, and for good reason.

It seems like Leitch gives the early edge to Harper.

“He’s probably your clubhouse favorite, thanks to how well his Phillies are playing,” Leitch says. “But he’ll get a good challenge from your 2023 winner, the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman.”

The first All-Star voting returns give Harper an early edge. A large, large early edge. Harper leads all NL players with 1,110,562 votes and is almost 400,000 ahead of Freeman.

Harper has been named to the All-Star Game seven times in his career, although he couldn't play in his lone selection while with the Phillies in 2022 thanks to a broken thumb. Freeman, also a seven-time All-Star has made five consecutive NL All-Star teams.

Who has the better numbers, Bryce Harper or Freddie Freeman?

How do Harper’s and Freeman’s numbers compare? To start with, they rank at the top of most offensive categories among NL first basemen.

Harper’s hitting .282, while Freeman has an even better mark at .300. While they are the top two in OPS among NL first basemen, with Harper posting a .910 mark and the Dodgers star at .912, they have gotten there in slightly different ways.

Harper has relied heavily on his slugging. He has a .520 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base. Freeman leads with a .410 on-base and a lower .502 slug. Harper has more home runs, with 15 to Freeman's 10, and his 46 RBI outpaces Freeman's 43. Keep in mind Harper has played seven fewer games than the Dodger.

While the final decision on who will start for the NL All-Star squad hangs in the balance based on fan voting, it's hard to imagine any other players getting the nod over Harper or Freeman. They play for the two best teams in the NL and are wildly popular among their rabid fan bases.

Our bet is on Harper. It's time to cast your votes, Phillies fans.

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