You may or may not get tired of hearing this: Bryce Harper has won an award. Fellow players voted Harper as the National League’s Players Choice Most Outstanding Player.
The runners-up for the award, which is presented by the MLB Players Association, included Washington’s Juan Soto, San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. and Atlanta’s Austin Riley. The three, along with Harper, should be in the mix for the NL MVP Award, which is voted on by 30 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Fellow Players Choice Award winners Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Buster Posey called Harper underrated. Former teammate Max Scherzer called him “a threat at the plate.” Shohei Ohtani, who won the American League’s Most Outstanding Player Award along with Player of the Year, said Harper is “a superstar.”
“It’s unbelievable how many years he has kept this level in this game,” the Players Choice NL Outstanding Rookie Jonathan India said. “That’s an All-Star, man. That’s Bryce Harper. That’s the face of baseball.”
In 2021, Harper slashed .309/.429/.615, becoming only the fourth Phillie since 1900 to ever post a .300/.400/.600 slash line (min. 500 plate appearances). The Phillies right fielder also led all of MLB in OPS (1.044). Harper, who had a .338/.476/.713 slash line after the All-Star break, was also the first MLB player since Ryan Howard in 2006 to post a .300/.400/.700 slash line since the break. Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa (2001) were the last NL outfielders to accomplish that feat.
Phillies managing partner John Middleton released a statement after Harper was named the Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Player:
“Bryce’s 2021 season was one of the greatest in our franchise’s history. He put up incredible offensive numbers especially down the stretch, when he started each of the team’s final 72 games. To be selected by his peers and awarded with the 2021 MLBPA NL Outstanding Player Award is one of baseball’s highest honors and only further validates his accomplishments this season. In addition to his on-field success, highlighted by his selection as a Silver Slugger finalist, Bryce is a special person off the field, which is why he is also being honored with this year’s Stan Musial Award. When we first signed Bryce, we knew we were getting one of the best in the game. We couldn’t be happier to have him in Phillies pinstripes as he continues to leave his indelible mark on this great sport.”
Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler was a finalist for the Players Choice NL Outstanding Pitcher Award along with Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes. Los Angeles’ Scherzer took home the award.
The finalists for the NL Cy Young and MVP will be announced on Nov. 1. The winners will be revealed during an MLB Network special on Nov. 10 and 11 respectively.
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