Phillies #1 in Power Rankings: Is This Bryce Harper’s Last Shot at a World Series Ring?

Bryce Harper 2024

Getty Bryce Harper 2024

Move over Los Angeles Dodgers, a new top dog is taking over the block. The latest MLB Power Rankings are out and the Philadelphia Phillies have commandeered the #1 ranking.

The Phillies currently have the best record in baseball at 34-14, the highest winning percentage on the road, and are narrowly behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in positive run differential.

Former 2-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bryce Harper is doing some Bryce Harper-like things. The Las Vegas, Nevada native has 10 HR/ 35 RBI and resides in or near the top 15 or 20 in most popular metrics.

Bam Bam, as he’s sometimes referred to, is in stride to possibly flirt with the 30 HR/100 RBI club—something he hasn’t done since winning a second MVP in 2021.

In his 13th season, the question for the former Rookie of the Year and 7-time All-Star is this: With the talented Phillies on pace to win 115 games, will this be the best remaining shot Bryce Harper gets to win that elusive first World Series title?

Phils Have a Solid Team In Place

The franchise is off to its best start since 1993 when they went six games deep in the World Series vs. Toronto.

The Phils will be forever connected to Blue Jay Joe Carter’s historic and uber-dramatic game-winning homerun to clinch that series.

Bitter memories aside, there’s plenty to be excited about with the 2024 roster.

The Philly pitching staff leads the major leagues with 9.3 fWAR opening up daylight back to 2nd place Boston (6.6 fWAR).

The starters have been productive, the bullpen has two guys with a sub-1 ERA, and Jose Alvarado hasn’t blown any of his 8 save opportunities.

Tops in strikeouts, the Phillies are a close 3rd in ERA behind the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

On the batting side, the Phillies lead the league in runs scored and are 2nd in RBIs, while sitting 3rd in BBs and overall team batting average.

With 61 stolen bases, they trail only the Cincinnati Reds (79) and Washington Nationals (75). If there’s a weak link it’s likely the defense who checks in 26th overall, but 13th in DRS with eight.

Harper Would Love a World Series Ring for His 32nd Birthday

As the 2024 postseason gets underway later this year, Harper will turn 32 years old in mid-October. Even with the Phillies’ recent success, there’s no guarantee the baseball gods will continue to be kind. Time is of the essence for Bryce.

Philadelphia has put together a solid core to make a run at what would be a third World Series title in team history. The Phils presently have 13 guys with a 0.8 fWAR and higher

By comparison, the Dodgers have 10 players at 0.8 fWAR and above, Yankees 9, Orioles 8, and the Braves seven.

Starved for another shot at a ring, in an interview with MLB Network Radio back in March 2024, Harper discussed what was front and center.

“We just got to go about it the right way, and if we do get that third Wild Card, I’ll take it,” Harper said. “I’ll take the first or second Wild Card. I’ll take the division. Anything that gets us into October.”

Bryce also touched on his new daily appointment at first base.

“I’m doing all the right things and trying to learn the position as much as possible,” Harper said. “It’s nice to be in the action at all times and be able to be back in the infield and doing those things. So definitely got a lot in front of me, but very excited.”

Thus far from a statistical point, Harper is one of the better defensive first basemen in the league with 3 DRS. That figure represents 37.5% of the Phillies’ team DRS total of eight.

Naysayers vs. Positive Thinkers

Some point out a slight dip in EV/Max EV, Barrel %, and an 8-year low in xwOBA for the erstwhile top pick of the 2010 MLB Draft. However, an OPS+ of 154—which is 11 points above Harper’s career average—may give them a moment of pause.

There’s much to like about this 2024 edition of Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies.

With teams already lining up as possible sellers at the deadline, they’ll be in a good position to fill any needs as they segue into the money rounds of October.

Buckle-up Philly, this may be Bryce’s year.