Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire 

When Bryce Harper’s not serving as a wingman for potential prom dates, he’s playing MVP-caliber baseball for a Phillies team with MLB’s best record.

What’s different about this season is that Harper entered it as the Phillies full-time first baseman, a role necessitated both by the Phillies’ roster composition and Harper’s past Tommy John surgery.

Harper gave the position a whirl for 36 games at the end of last season and then into the postseason. However, he’s playing it this year with a different level of aggressiveness.

Harper foreshadowed what was to come on Opening Day when he made this play against his Braves counterpart, 3-time Fielding Bible Award winner Matt Olson.

That was the first of an MLB-leading 13 diving plays he has made at first base this season. No other player has reached double figures in successful diving plays yet.

We thought about titling this article “Bryce Harper is The Dirtiest First Baseman in Baseball” after watching how covered in grass and dirt his uniform was from his work in the field and on the bases from this game on a rainy night in early April.

Bryce Harper in a uniform covered with dirt and grass stains

Harper currently ranks tied for 3rd among first basemen with 4 Defensive Runs Saved, so the approach seems to be working. His 19 diving attempts match the most of anyone at first base (Pete Alonso also has 19). Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner leads all players with 25 diving attempts.

Harper’s 68% success rate on his dives is high relative to that of his positional counterparts. The average first baseman converts 40% of his diving attempts into outs. Last season, Harper made 3 diving plays at first base in 8 diving attempts.

Harper did miss one notable ball on a diving attempt, a double against Zack Wheeler that broke up a no-hit bid of 7 1/3 innings against the White Sox on April 20. But he’s made some nifty plays too.

Other than his final year with the Nationals when he had only 1 diving attempt, Harper was a willing diver, though not the most prolific one, in his time as an outfielder.

Harper’s most diving attempts in any previous season was 12 in 2019, his first season with the Phillies (5 fewer diving attempts than the MLB leaders). His most diving plays made in a season was 9, also in 2019. He’s already gone well past both numbers in 2024 and seems to be adjusting to his new role well. We say that regarding both first base and as a prom date wingman.

Most Diving Plays Made – 2024 Season

Player Team Diving Plays Made
Bryce Harper Phillies 13
Jazz Chisholm Jr. Marlins 8
Jake Cronenworth Padres 8
Alec Bohm Phillies 7
Masyn Winn Cardinals 7
Brendan Rodgers Rockies 7
Enmanuel Valdez Red Sox 7