Photo by Wayne Terry, TPL.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies has been named the 2021 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It’s Harper’s second time winning the award (2015) and just the sixth player for the Phillies franchise and first since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Harper also becomes the first player since Rollins to win an MVP after not being voted to an All-Star game and the 13th in MLB history overall. The award is Harper’s fourth this season, following the Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award, and N.L. Most Outstanding Player.

League Leader

The recently-turned-29-year old led all of baseball in OPS (1.044), slugging percentage (.615), wRC+ (170), OPS+ (179) and was tied in doubles (42). Harper’s 78 extra-base hits led the National League and are the most for any Phillies player since Ryan Howard had 86 in 2009. 

Second Half Surge

Harper’s historic second half paved the way to winning MVP. The Phillies right fielder led all of baseball in OPS (1.188), slugging percentage (.713), and wRC+ (201) following his All-Star game snub and had 49 extra base hits including 20 home runs. Harper joins Chuck Klein as the only other player in Phillies history with at least 49 extra-base hits in the second half. Klein had 49 in the second half of 1929 and 56 in the latter half of 1930. 

Comparing Harper’s 2021 to the Phillies’ most recent MVPs

Player Year OPS HRs RBIs AVG SB XBH OPS+ WAR
Bryce Harper 2021 1.044 35 84 .309 13 78 179 5.9
Jimmy Rollins 2007 .875 30 94 .296 41 88 119 6.1
Ryan Howard 2006 1.084 58 149 .313 0 84 167 5.2