This MVP season seemingly came up short. The game of baseball has changed significantly in my lifetime (48+ years). Gone are the iron man-days of yore where 20 game winners dominated our CY Young races and herculean home run machines. Players tried to outduel each other for the MVP. In their place is analytics. On Thursday night Bryce Harper took home his second MVP award in his high-profile career. The first Phillies player to win since Jimmy Rollins followed Ryan Howard in 2007. Harper had a nice season but was it an MVP season?
Harper as we know is playing on a 13-year mega-deal given to him by the Phillies in 2019. $330,000,000 in total to be exact. If we turn the clock back to mid-July, I seem to remember a lot of clamoring from the fighting faithful for a refund on this mega-deal. Harper’s numbers at the All-star were pedestrian, to say the least. A .282 batting average, 15 homers, 30 RBIs, and an NL All-star snub.
In Harper’s defense, the lineup in front of him did not get on base much. An incident in St. Louis back in April where he was beamed in the face undoubtedly hampered him in the first half. But many saw this as a lingering trend from a player who was not in large part living up to the mega-deal.
Harper’s second-half did show a remarkable comeback in all offensive categories. A .338 batting average, 20 home runs, and 50 RBI’s. This led to the MVP talk around late August. I am thrilled for him to win this honor especially in red pinstripes, but something seems to be missing for me. I don’t know if it’s the fact that for his third straight season here the Phillies wilted down the stretch, or that we as a fan base had to endure a bullpen game every 5th day. Maybe I just don’t believe in the mega-deal when currently there are no options playing in the outfield spots to his left and right. Call me fickle just don’t call me old. It just seemed to be an MVP season that came up short.