Bryce Harper

Player of the Month again? Inside Bryce Harper's insane June

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Bryce Harper, who was pleasantly surprised to win National League Player of the Month in May, has been far better in June as he surges toward a second straight honor.

Simply put, Harper's hot streaks look different. It's not just power, spraying the ball all over the field for hits, production with runners in scoring position or taking walks — it's all of the above.

It's how, over 20 games in June leading into Wednesday's series finale in Detroit, Harper has hit .390 with nine doubles, seven homers, 15 RBI and 20 runs scored.

It doesn't matter who's on the mound right now. On Tuesday night, he doubled off lefty Tarik Skubal, who might start the All-Star Game for the American League. Skubal had allowed one extra-base hit to a left-handed hitter all season.

The prior night, Harper hit a three-run homer off of lefty reliever Tyler Holton, who had also allowed just one extra-base hit to a left-handed hitter all season.

If you care about WAR — Wins Above Replacement — Fangraphs has Harper second in the National League to Shohei Ohtani, while Baseball-Reference has him fourth behind Ohtani, Ketel Marte and Mookie Betts.

Defense at first base has been the other part of Harper's massive season. The eye test tells you he's already elite in the field at first, but so do the defensive metrics.

Per MLB Statcast data, the only two first basemen in the majors who have been worth more Outs Above Average than Harper are Christian Walker and Carlos Santana.

Only Walker, Matt Olson and Michael Busch have been worth more Defensive Runs Saved, a separate metric from a separate outlet in Sports Info Solutions.

Harper doesn't lead the NL in any category other than intentional walks, which in itself is meaningful because of all the damage Alec Bohm has done behind him. It tells you how firm some teams are in not wanting to be beaten by Harper, even with the hitter protecting him batting over .300 and on pace for 130-plus RBI.

The NL Player of the Month award for Harper in May was his first as a Phillie and the third of his career. Shockingly, he hadn't even been named Player of the Week with the Phils despite winning an MVP and two Silver Sluggers with significantly better numbers as a Phillie than as a National.

Harper's OPS this month is 106 points higher than Ohtani, who's second in the league. His 16 extra-base hits are two more than anyone in the NL. If he can avoid going 0-for-20 to close out the month – and even if he does — he's in great shape to take home the award for June, as well.

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