Phillies seeing what the very best version of Harper looks like


This is what the best version of Bryce Harper looks like.

The Phillies' superstar has been locked in since the season opener nearly a month ago. He enters Wednesday's series finale against the Red Sox hitting .367 with a 1.186 OPS. He ranks fourth in the majors in batting averge, first in on-base percentage and second in OPS.

Harper has five homers, he's 4 for 4 stealing bases and he's walked more than he's struck out. 

He's been one of the very best players in baseball this season and is on a path that could lead to an MVP award in this shortened 60-game season. The best players in the NL to this point have been Fernando Tatis Jr., Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Juan Soto and J.T. Realmuto.

Tuesday night was another night in which Harper got the job done in multiple ways. After making outs in his first three plate appearances, he worked a long at-bat that ended in a three-run moonshot to right-center. In his final AB, he dunked an opposite-field single over the shortstop's head, stole a base and came around to score. 

Harper is selective yet aggressive at the plate. He hits lefties and righties alike. He uses the whole field. He will lay down a bunt when the third baseman is too far back. He's doing it all.

The homer Tuesday was Harper's 40th as a Phillie in 757 plate appearances. So far, he's been better with the Phillies than he was with the Nationals. 

Harper has hit .270/.384/.528 and homered once every 18.9 plate appearances as a Phillie.


Harper hit .279/.388/.512 and homered once every 21.5 plate appearances with the Nationals.

Harper is hitting .357 with runners in scoring position. He has a .999 OPS with two strikes compared to the league average of .523. In the final three innings of games, he's 7 for 13 with a double, triple, homer and four walks. He's homered against every team the Phillies have faced so far this season except that series against the Mets, in which he hit .400 and reached base half the time.

That's some big-time ROI so far for the Phillies with Harper, who over this year-plus span has hit 20 points better than Manny Machado with an OPS 120 points higher.