The 2024 year may have just begun, but that doesn’t stop people from making early predictions for the upcoming MLB season. In the case of MLB.com, Anthony Castrovince recently came out with predictions for the major award winners for 2024.
Philadelphia Phillies fans will certainly be excited to see that one of their very own happened to make the list. That player is none other than star first baseman Bryce Harper.
Harper is predicted to capture the 2024 NL MVP Award, with his former Washington Nationals teammate Juan Soto taking home the honors for the AL side. In addition, Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers is expected to bounce back with a huge 2024 year to capture the NL Cy Young Award, while Pablo López of the Minnesota Twins will surprise everyone by reeling home the AL Cy Young Award.
But let’s focus on the Phillies' very own projected award winner. For Harper, it may come as no surprise to some, as after all, he has captured the award twice in his career already. He did it once when he was still with the Nationals in 2015, and again in 2021 with the Phillies.
To others, the prediction may come as somewhat surprising because Harper apparently just came off a "down" season in 2023 in which he put up just 21 home runs and 72 RBI in 126 games.
However, if we factor in that he was coming off Tommy John surgery and actually defied the odds by coming back earlier than expected, then one can see what he produced was actually more substantial than it seems. If we take an even closer look at the numbers, Harper was actually slow out of the gate at first, but really picked up the pace as the season rolled along.
During the first half of the season, he hit .291 with a .786 OPS, 33 runs scored, three home runs and 23 RBI in 56 games. However, following the All-Star break, Harper was a completely different player. Perhaps he was finally back to full health, as he batted .296 with a stellar .996 OPS, along with 51 runs scored, 18 home runs, and 49 RBI over his final 70 games of the season. If his second half was projected over a full 162-game schedule, that would mean 118 runs scored, 42 home runs, and 113 RBI in total, in line with his former MVP numbers.
Not only did he appear to be himself again, Harper carried that momentum right into the playoffs, leading the Phillies in a healthy run in the postseason before surprisingly bowing out to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.
No doubt with redemption in his mind, Harper will do everything he can in 2024 to get the Phillies back into the playoffs to finish off some unfinished business. With that motivation and his fully recovered health, we should expect big things from him this coming season.
Among those expectations, we could include the MVP Award prediction, but it may not be the only thing he and the Phillies will end up winning in 2024.