Off The Field: Bryce Harper is the National League’s MVP, it’s not that close

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Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) listens to the national anthem before the start of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on Sunday, September 5, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS) Photo credit: David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS

Silas Bravo

Nobody in the National League had a better year than Bryce Harper.

Harper finished 2021 third in the NL with an outstanding .309 batting average.

He was second in the entire MLB with on base percentage with an incredible .429.

A lot of people try discrediting these so-called “outdated” statistics but how often one gets a hit as well as gets on base is still the most vital stat for a hitter.

Not to mention that Harper led the MLB in both slugging percentage and OPS.

Not only did he consistently get hits, he led the league in how many bases he recorded per at-bat. Harper was the best in the league at hitting for power and getting on base in general.

Harper was also third in the MLB in the WAR statistic.

For those who do not know, WAR stands for wins above replacement. This specific stat is used to sum up a player’s total contribution to their team.

The Philadelphia Phillies finished 82-80 and were second in the National League East.

Even though they did not make the playoffs, the Phillies were in the race largely throughout the season due to the play of Bryce Harper.

Although baseball is one of the biggest team sports, it is safe to say that Harper carried this Philadelphia team.

Looking at their roster, it is impressive they even finished over .500. If you take Harper out of their lineup they easily are one of the worst teams in baseball.

If you examine the other MVP candidates Harper’s case for MVP looks even better.

The two other players that could possibly give Harper a run for his money are upcoming superstars Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr.

Tatis had himself a year, finishing second in the MLB in slugging and fourth in OPS. He also stole 25 bases as well as hitting a whopping 42 home runs.

Despite these great stats, Tatis finished with a .282 batting average and did not come close to the other candidates in OBP.

What really edges Tatis out of the MVP race is how bad he was defensively. He commited a total of 22 errors despite missing a good amount of time due to injury.

Tatis was so bad defensively at shortstop that he had to be moved to the outfield.

Harper’s closest competition for the prestigious award in 2021 was Juan Soto.

Soto beat Harper in both batting average and on base percentage, however was behind him in slugging, OPS, WAR, and home runs.

Although Soto had a remarkable season, it is not quite the season that Harper had.

His team, the Washington Nationals, were downright terrible in 2021.

The Nats finished 65-97 and were in last place in the NL East. It is hard to imagine the Nationals finishing any worse with Soto or not.

Looking at the stats as well as team success, it is tough to give the award to anyone not named Bryce Harper.