As the Nationals take aim at wrapping up the National League East, here’s a look at how they’re shaping up in the postseason awards voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America:
Cy Young Award: Gio Gonzalez has 20 wins, the gold standard for pitchers, but that might not be enough to win, especially when new-age statistics are redefining how pitchers are judged. Consider that Tim Lincecum (16 wins), Zack Greinke (16) and Felix Hernandez (13) won the award in the last two years.
Greinke and Hernandez played on losing teams, as well, so the Nats’ record might not help. The top competition for Gonzalez is the Mets’ R.A. Dickey, who has 19 wins and leads the National League with a 2.66 ERA. He’s also got nearly 30 more innings, more strikeouts and a lower WHIP than Gonzalez.
Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson should win the award. No one else is close, but if Ron Roenicke leads the surging Brewers into the second wild card, he’s going to pick up votes. But not enough to unseat Johnson, who won the AL Manager of the Year when he managed the Orioles.
Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper, 19, is having the best hitting season ever for a teenager, but the Reds’ Todd Frazier and the Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley are strong candidates. Harper has played all three outfield positions, delivered key hits and batted in various lineup slots.
Frazier is the infield version of Harper for the Reds, playing third and first for injured Scott Rolen and Joey Votto, respectively. Harper and Frazier’s home runs are a wash, but Frazier has more RBIs, fewer strikeouts, a better on-base percentage and a higher OPS. Miley has been a workhorse for Arizona, approaching 200 innings with an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio, a good number of wins and a low ERA.
Most Valuable Player: The fact that the Nationals don’t have a top-notch candidate speaks to their dependence on strong pitching and injured regulars. The Nats’ Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman, however, should appear on BBWAA ballots. The Giants’ Buster Posey will likely win, but the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and the Brewers’ Ryan Braun will be right there.