Harper captured 17 of the 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Soto (six first-place votes) and Tatis (two) finished second and third, respectively, in the vote tally, which also adds points for second- and third-place finishes. San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford received four first-place votes and Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner got one.
Harper, a unanimous MVP while playing for the Washington Nationals in 2015, kept a flawed Philadelphia Phillies team in the hunt for the postseason right up until the very end in 2021. He ultimately led the NL in slugging percentage (.615) and park-adjusted OPS (179) while accumulating 6.6 FanGraphs wins above replacement, tied with Soto for second in the NL behind Turner
An Emotional Bryce Harper tears up talking about winning MVP— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) November 18, 2021
“got to thank my teammates, the city of Philadelphia, our fans!”
Harper won the award with a monstrous second half in which he batted .338/.476/.713. Soto was right there with him, batting .348/.525/.639, but was seemingly hurt by playing on a Nationals team that spent most of that stretch out of contention.
Tatis, meanwhile, led the NL with 42 home runs and added 25 stolen bases, all while playing the more demanding position of shortstop. But his San Diego Padres faded dramatically down the stretch, and Tatis' numbers fell off just enough to deny him an MVP he appeared to be running away with by the All-Star break.
Harper led the majors in ESPN's version of win probability added (4.69) and finished with a .309/.429/.615 slash line, 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a major league-leading 42 doubles.