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Nationals dominate ballot for NL end-of-season awards

Nationals dominate ballot for NL end-of-season awards

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the finalists for its major individual awards on Monday, and the ballots were littered with Washington Nationals.

The Nationals became the first team since the Minnesota Twins in 2006 to have a top-three finisher for each of the four awards, and the first N.L. team to do so since the 1996 Atlanta Braves.

Daniel Murphy, who led the N.L. in slugging percentage, OBPS, and doubles, is up for the league MVP award, which was won by teammate Bryce Harper a season ago. Murphy is one of the three finalists, along with Dodgers' shortstop Corey Seager and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.

Trea Turner played in just 73 MLB games this season, but quickly became one of the Nationals' most important players. He finished with 33 stolen bases and 13 home runs. While he is likely to fall just short of Dodgers' Corey Seager in the Rookie of the Year race, his meteoric rise to the top of the lineup was a welcomed sight in Washington.

Max Scherzer, the 2013 A.L. Cy Young award winner, is up for the N.L. award in 2016 thanks to his spot atop the N.L. leaderboard in wins (20), strikeouts (284), innings pitched (228) and WHIP (0.968). While Scherzer was often criticized for allowing home runs at a premium, the Nationals' ace had few flaws. He is up for the award along with Chicago Cubs' aces Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks.

Rounding out the Nationals' nominees is manager Busty Baker, who guided the Nationals to a 95-67 record and an N.L. East championship in his first season with the club. The Nationals finished finished tied with the Rangers for the second-best record in professional baseball last season — behind the world champion Cubs'103-58 record — a 12-win increase from the season before. Baker is up for the award along with Dave Roberts of the Dodgers and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. 

 The BBWA awards announcements begin next week, with the Rookie of the Year award on monday. 

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.

RELATED: WIETERS WILL RETURN TO NATS IN 2018 

Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.