When Harper heard his name called, it marked the second MVP award of his career.
Bryce Harper told me he was not this emotional when he won first MVP
Bryce says this is different because of his family being there with him and having 2 kids now
“Just the emotion of seeing them” (his family)
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 19, 2021
The 29-year-old is silencing all of the folks who called him overrated at any point in his career.
It’s clear that he’s still one of baseball’s top players.
With that being the case, the pressure is on for the Phillies to finally take advantage of the fact that they have an elite player at their disposal who’s in his prime years.
Harper has already played three seasons for Philadelphia, but the organization has no playoff bids to show for it.
That needs to change in 2022.
It Has Been A Decade To Forget For The Phillies, And It’s Time For The Gloom To End
It has been a long decade for Phillies fans.
From 2007 to 2011, the organization established itself as a perennial contender, as it made the playoffs in five straight years.
Philadelphia even accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a World Series title in 2008.
But over the past 10 seasons, Phillies supporters haven’t had a lot to cheer about.
The club hasn’t made the postseason since 2011.
Even worse, the Phillies have finished just one season with a winning record during their current 10-year playoff drought.
When the club signed Harper to a massive 13-year contract before the 2019 season, folks in Philadelphia hoped it was a sign of brighter days ahead.
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 28, 2019
But unfortunately, with three seasons of Harper’s 13-year deal complete, the playoff drought is still ongoing.
It’s obviously not Harper’s fault — in fact, he’s doing everything in his power to get this club back to the postseason.
But he can’t do it alone.
Harper Is A Generational Talent Who Is Giving The Phillies Generational Production
It’s rare for a team to possess a player of Harper’s caliber, let alone during the player’s prime years.
But that’s the situation the Phillies are in, and it’s a very desirable one.
Since signing with the team, Harper has appeared in 356 games.
During that span, he has maintained a slash line of .281/.402/.556 with a 151 OPS+.
For context, a 151 OPS+ is 51 percent better than league-average.
Three seasons is a long time to maintain a clip like that, but Harper has had no trouble doing so.
Now let’s take a look at what he accomplished in 2021 en route to MVP honors.
The six-time All-Star led the league in slugging (.615), OPS (1.044), OPS+ (179), and doubles (42).
Near the end of the season, he went on an insane 32-game stretch in which he batted .364 with a 1.309 OPS and 24 extra-base-hits.
Turn your volume up and listen to this Bryce Harper bomb pic.twitter.com/3IhflavCGs
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) September 6, 2021
It’s probably safe to assume that he locked down the award during that stretch.
Plus, when you factor in his 5.9 bWAR, it’s easy to understand why he was the right choice for the honor.
Harper is the 32nd player in MLB history to win multiple MVP awards, and he’s just the fifth player in the history of the sport to get the job done with two different teams.
Again: This guy is special.
The Phillies can’t afford to waste another year of Harper’s production.
It’s playoffs or bust in 2022.