First pitch: 3 things to explain about my National League MVP ballot

There will be some questions about the names on the 2023 National League MVP ballot, so let me provide some answers

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. / Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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Why Bryce Harper's name was on my ballot

Remember, these votes were sent in before the postseason began, so I had no idea how Harper would do in the postseason and if the Phillies would make it back to the World Series or not. I didn't vote for postseason Harper. I voted for the guy who helped Philadelphia get to Red October.

What I did know before October arrived is that the Phillies wouldn't have been in the position they were this season without Harper pushing himself to get back to the field after having Tommy John surgery ... and doing it just 160 days after undergoing that surgery. For Harper to post 3.7 bWAR (finishing third on the team in that category) and put up the numbers he did while playing a month less than his teammates says something about the impact the former MVP had on his squad.

Harper sliding in at designated hitter when he returned solved one of Philadelphia's lineup questions, but volunteering to learn and play first base to help the Phillies be a better team spoke volumes to me. That determination helped Philadelphia make it to the postseason and earned Harper a nod on my ballot, despite his numbers not being as gaudy as some of the ones he has posted in the past.