The finalists for the annual Baseball Writer’s Association of America awards were announced Monday on MLB Network, and the Washington Nationals have two players among the honorees. Right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer is one of the finalists for the 2018 National League Cy Young award and left fielder Juan Soto is a top three finisher for the 2018 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award.
Scherzer is up against strong competition for the award, facing off against New York Mets right-handed pitcher Jacob deGrom and Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, put together a season worthy of consideration for his fourth award. He finished 2018 with an 18-7 record and a 2.53 ERA. He led National League pitchers in strikeouts (300), strikeouts per nine innings (12.24), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.88), WHIP (0.91), opp. AVG (.188), innings pitched (220.2), wins (T1st, 18) and quality starts (T1st, 28), while ranking among the leaders in several other categories.
Among the notable accomplishments for Scherzer this season was his game on Sept. 25th against the Marlins in which he recorded his 300th strikeout of the season, becoming the fifth pitcher since 2001 to hit the 300 strikeout mark in a season. He recorded his 1,000th strikeout with Washington on July 2 against Boston, becoming the 11th pitcher in MLB history to collect at least 1,000 strikeouts with two different clubs. Scherzer also recorded an MLB best nine-game winning streak from April 9 to June 5 and was named National League Pitcher of the Month in both April and May.
Soto faces tough competition in the form of Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler in his quest for National League Rookie of the Year.
Soto finished his rookie season with a .292 batting average, .406 on-base percentage and a .517 slugging percentage. He led National League rookies (min. 400 PA) in on-base percentage (.406) and OPS (.923). He also led National League rookies in RBI (70) and walks (79). His 22 home runs ranked second among National League Rookies.
Having put together one of the best seasons by a teenager in major league history, Soto finished the season by ranking among teenagers in several categories including walks (1st, 79), on-base percentage (1st, .406), OPS (1st, .923), home runs (T2nd, 22), batting average (3rd, .292), slugging percentage (3rd, .517) and RBI (4th, 70).
BBWAA members vote for four annual awards in each league: Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year. Voting for all awards was held before the start of the postseason. The winners of the annual BBWAA awards will be announced live on MLB Network the week of Nov. 12, 2018.