The Washington Nationals announced the winners of the third-annual end-of-season awards as voted on by the local media. Outfielder Bryce Harper was voted 2018 Nationals Player of the Year, while right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer was named Pitcher of the Year. Left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle was given the ‘Good Guy’ Award, given to a player who is exceptionally accommodating to the media and involved in the community.
The players will receive their awards in an on-field ceremony before Wednesday’s 4:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins.
Harper, 25, was named Player of the Year for the first time in the three-year history of the award. Entering play on Tuesday, Harper has clubbed 34 home runs, recorded a career-high 100 RBI and has set a Nationals record (2005-pres.) with 126 walks. He enters play on Tuesday ranked in the National League in home runs (T2nd, 34), on-base percentage (6th, .390), runs (T6th, 99), RBI (6th, 100), extra-base hits (11th, 65) and OPS (11th, .885).
Harper has been one of the most productive hitters in the second “half” of the 2018 season. Since the All-Star break - one in which he represented the Nationals in the All-Star Game for the sixth time and won the 2018 Home Run Derby - he’s hit .294 with 17 doubles, 12 home runs, 46 RBI, 48 walks, six stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 60 games. He has posted a .430 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging percentage along the way.
Harper enters Tuesday with 99 runs scored, 100 RBI and 126 walks in 2018. He is looking to become the seventh player since 2014 to record at least 100 runs, RBI and walks in a season. If he hits those marks, he will join Jose Ramirez (2018), Joey Votto (2017), Aaron Judge (2017), Mike Trout (2016), Paul Goldschmidt (2015) and Jose Bautista (2015, 2014) as the only players to do it since 2014.
Scherzer, 34, was named Pitcher of the Year for the third consecutive season and has again placed himself in consideration for the National League Cy Young Award. He enters tonight’s start with a 17-7 record and a 2.57 ERA. He leads Major League Baseball with a career-high and Nationals record (2005-pres.) 290 strikeouts. In addition to strikeouts, Scherzer leads National League pitchers in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (12.22), hits per 9.0 innings (6.12), WHIP (0.92), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.69), opp. average (.188), opp. on-base percentage (.248) and wins (17).
As the 2018 season progressed, so too did Scherzer’s place on both the all-time and active strikeout lists. He began the season 66th all-time and seventh among active pitchers with 2,149 strikeouts. As of Sept. 25, he ranks 43rd all-time and fifth among active pitchers with 2,439 strikeouts. With 10 more strikeouts, he will become the fifth pitcher since 2000 (6 times) to record a 300+ strikeout season.
Scherzer was named a National League All-Star for the fourth consecutive season and sixth straight season overall. In addition to starting for the National League in the All-Star Game, he was named National League Pitcher of the Month in April and May as well as National League Pitcher of the Week on April 16.
Doolittle, 31, supplanted Ryan Zimmerman, the winner of the ‘Good Guy’ Award in both 2016 and 2017. Doolittle - named a National League All-Star in 2018 - earned the award for his “always-professional dealings with members of the media, and for representing the Nationals organization with class both on and off the field.” He is 3-3 with a 1.62 ERA and 25 saves entering play on Tuesday.
Throughout the season, Doolittle and his wife, Eireann, took part in many community initiatives, highlighted by their work with the military and the LGBTQ community. They spent time visiting the Walter Reed Medical Center, the “Battle of the Skies” World War II Commemoration, the Urban Warrior Challenge and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Beyond their dedication to military initiatives, the two hosted a group during World Refugee Night and purchased 150 tickets for the LGBTQ community for use on Night Out.