No 1: Bryce Harper
At the top of our power rankings is Bryce Harper. While no player is above the other 25 men on any roster, Harper is the heart and soul of the Phillies. A two-time National League MVP, seven-time All-Star, and 2012 Rookie of the Year, the man the Phillies signed to a 13-year, $330 million contract in 2019 is missing only one career-defining achievement: being a World Series champion.
The past two seasons have been tough for Harper in the health department. After undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow following the 2022 World Series, Harper was expected to miss significant time in 2023 as he rehabbed the injury, and was initially expected back in June. It was a fortunate development in early May when Harper returned ahead of schedule and took over as the team's primary DH.
Despite missing the first month of the season, Harper had another solid year at the plate. It took a while for Harper to hit the ball for power, but by the end of the year, his numbers were only a tick below what we have come to expect. In 126 games, Harper batted .293 with 21 home runs and 72 RBI, with 134 hits and 11 steals. Harper's return helped ignite an offense still reeling from Hoskins' season-ending injury.
In the field is where Harper made his biggest contribution in 2023. Relegated to DH duties while still recovering from surgery, Harper put in the effort to learn how to play first base in pre-game drills for most of the season.
With a Phillies outfield struggling defensively with Kyle Schwarber playing left, Harper took the field on July 21 at first base, allowing Schwarber to slide back to DH. In 279 chances over 36 starts at the new position, Harper only made one error and ended the year with a .996 fielding percentage. The Phillies had found their everyday first baseman.
Harper enters the 2024 season as the Phillies' primary first baseman. The team saw enough out of Harper in a small sample size that they declined to re-sign Hoskins this offseason. While his instincts and footwork showed room for improvement, the only question on fan's minds is how Harper will handle the position once the 162-game schedule gets underway.
Offensively, we all know what to expect from Harper when he's healthy. Coming into spring training without health concerns or restrictions for the first time in two years, it's not unreasonable to believe that Harper will once again put up MVP-like numbers in 2024. That's why he's No. 1 in our Phillies infield power rankings.