In what could reasonably be described as a formality, Bryce Harper was named a 2021 Silver Slugger Award winner Thursday.
Harper’s MLB-leading .615 slugging percentage, 1.044 OPS, 170 wRC+ and .431 wOBA have him poised as a frontrunner in the NL MVP conversation, so the Silver Slugger was essentially a foregone conclusion. His receiving the NL’s Hank Aaron Award, given to the top offensive performer in each league, served as all the more evidence that he would at least earn the distinction as one of the senior circuit’s three best offensive outfielders in 2021.
Joining Harper are Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Nick Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s the second time in his career that Harper has won the award, also taking it in his 2015 MVP season. Harper led MLB in slugging percentage and OPS that year as well.
In other news, J.T. Realmuto was topped as expected by the recently-retired Buster Posey for the NL Silver Slugger Award among catchers. Realmuto had been a finalist along with Milwaukee’s Omar Narváez and Los Angeles’ Will Smith.
Realmuto ranked in the top five among NL catchers in each of the following categories: hits, extra-base hits, RBIs, OPS and batting average. His .782 OPS trailed Posey’s by more than 100 points.
Harper’s award, and Realmuto’s lack thereof, leave each of the good friends with two Silver Slugger Awards on their resume. Perhaps they’ll break the tie — or bring the score to three apiece — in 2022.
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