Harper claims 2nd career Hank Aaron Award

If history is any indicator, the NL MVP might be next

November 9th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- ’s National League MVP chances are trending in the right direction.

Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday night that the Phillies’ right fielder won the NL’s Hank Aaron Award for most outstanding regular-season offensive performer in 2021. Harper last week won the Players Choice Award for NL Outstanding Player, which is a players-only vote.

The Hank Aaron Award is voted on by fans, as well as a special panel of Hall of Fame players that includes Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr. and Robin Yount.

The only question for Harper is this: Do Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters view his season the same way as players, fans and Hall of Famers?

The 2021 NL MVP Award winner will be revealed on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 18. Juan Soto of the Nationals and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres are also finalists.

Harper batted .309 with 42 doubles, one triple, 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, a 1.044 OPS and a 179 OPS+ in 2021. He led the Majors in doubles, slugging percentage (.615), OPS and OPS+. He ranked second in the NL in fWAR (6.6), on-base percentage (.429) and walks (100); third in batting average and outfield assists (10); sixth in home runs and runs (101) and ninth in bWAR (5.9). He even tied for 12th in stolen bases (13).

Harper is only the fourth outfielder in AL/NL history to have at least 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles and 35 home runs in a single season. Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Barry Bonds are the others.

Harper had 49 extra-base hits and 65 walks in the second half. Since the first All-Star Game in 1933, only Jimmie Foxx and Bonds had as many extra-base hits and walks after the break.

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. Harper previously won the award in 2015 with the Nationals; he also won NL MVP honors that year.

Before Harper this year, Ryan Howard was the only Phillies player to have won the Hank Aaron Award. He earned the nod in 2006, and he claimed the NL MVP that season as well.