5 bold predictions for the Phillies' 2024 season

Here are five bold predictions for Phillies players that we'd love to see come true this year.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Bryce Harper will win the NL MVP Award

Bryce Harper hasn't been Bryce Harper for a couple of seasons now.

Since beginning the ordeal with his elbow injury early in 2022, Harper hasn't had enough time on the field to look like the dominant player who won the 2021 NL MVP. He was still a fantastic player in 2022, earning his sixth All-Star nod. But between the elbow ailment and the unfortunate broken thumb, he played just 99 games and finished the year with 18 home runs — far below the 30-something total we're used to seeing in a full season.

It was a similar story last year. When Harper returned from Tommy John surgery, he could hit, but it took him a while to find his power stroke as he recovered to a more recognizable version of the extraordinary player he is. He still finished with 21 homers and a .900 OPS in 126 games. By the end of the season and into the playoffs, he looked more like the Harper who could single-handedly take over a game — see his incredible NLDS Game 3 versus the Braves for proof.

Now, the two-time NL MVP heads into the 2024 season healthy, as long as his stiff back isn't an issue, and ready to regain his place as an elite MLB player. He may be 31 now, but his talent level is otherworldly and should carry him well beyond the typical age-related decline ballplayers experience. The last time Harper was healthy, he hit nine home runs in the first 34 games of his 2022 season. After the elbow injury and around the broken thumb, he hit nine in 65 games.

Even if Harper is fully back, he'll face stiff competition to win the MVP Award. He's up against superstar players like reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr., perennial Dodgers candidates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson of the Braves, and even NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll, as well as a few other notables who could have big years. At least with Shohei Ohtani restricted to only hitting, everyone else in the National League stands a chance.