Bryce Harper, 1B
The Phillies' franchise player, Bryce Harper, was able to return to playing defense during the 2023 regular season. He had been the club's primary designated hitter since he injured his right arm in April 2022. He underwent Tommy John surgery last offseason and made a remarkable recovery to the lineup in May of this year.
Philadelphia was in need of more depth at first base following Rhys Hoskins' season-ending knee injury during Spring Training and Darick Hall's struggles and time missed due to his ailment. Harper took reps before debuting in a game at the position.
Harper split time with Alec Bohm and Jake Cave before becoming the primary player at the position by the end of the regular season. The 31-year-old will be the Phillies' full-time starter at first base, following president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski's recent announcement at the GM Meetings, pushing Hoskins out the door.
At the plate, Harper was his reliable self with a slash line of .293/.401/.499 in 126 games played. He showed why he is considered one of the best all-around players, hitting 21 home runs, 72 RBI, 84 runs, and 134 hits in 457 plate appearances. He had 29 doubles, 80 walks, and 11 stolen bases, demonstrating his well-roundedness as a hitter.
In 13 postseason contests, he had a slash line of .285/.455/.643. The Las Vegas, Nevada native had 12 hits, 14 runs, five home runs and eight RBI. He exhibited his ability to get on base with 13 walks as well.
Harper had a relatively smooth transition defensively from right field to first base for the Phillies. He had one error in 36 starts at the infield position, along with 20 assists and 258 putouts. He did not commit any errors in 13 starts at first during the playoffs. He is certainly capable of being Philadelphia's starting first baseman, considering his relentless work ethic.
Harper remains the heart and soul of the Phillies, even during his slumps in the batter's box. He's willing to do whatever it takes for Philadelphia to succeed. If the organization wins a World Series during his time with the team, he'll undoubtedly be in the running for World Series MVP.