The Nationals are well-represented in Major League Baseball’s end-of-season award discussion.
Nats manager Davey Johnson was named one of three finalists for National League Manager of the Year, Bryce Harper is up for NL Rookie of the Year and left-hander Gio Gonzalez is a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award.
Johnson joins Reds manager Dusty Baker and Giants skipper Bruce Bochy as the finalists for NL Manager of the Year.
Johnson led the Nats to a 98-win season and their first NL East division title in team history. He joked late in the season that he didn’t want Manager of the Year honors because the last time he won it he ended up out of a job. Johnson was named AL Manager of the Year in 1997 and resigned as Orioles manager the very same day that he won the award.
Ironically enough, Johnson still doesn’t have a managerial contract for the 2013 season. It would be a major surprise if he didn’t end up returning to manage next season, but still, the possibility exists that Johnson yet again wins Manager of the Year and finds himself without a managing job the next season.
Johnson already has won The Sporting News NL Manager of the Year award, which was voted on by his peers, and seems to be the favorite for this award as well. The official MLB awards are voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Joining Harper as finalists for NL Rookie of the Year are Reds infielder Todd Frazier and Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley.
As a 19-year-old, Harper put up one of the best seasons for a teenager in major league history. He struggled during a stretch in the second half of the season, but still ended up ranking second among NL rookies in home runs (22), fourth in RBIs (59), first in runs scored (98), first in triples (9), second in stolen bases (18) and fourth in OPS (.817).
Miley was named The Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year, while Frazier won the Players Choice Award as the league’s top rookie this week.
Gonzalez will be up against Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey and Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw.
After the Nationals traded away a boatload of talented prospects to acquire him last offseason, Gonzalez immediately showed he was worth it, leading the majors with 21 wins this season and posting an impressive 2.89 ERA.
It will be tough for Gonzalez to top Dickey, however, given the season the knuckleballer put up. Dickey threw a league-high 233 1/3 innings, put up a 2.73 ERA and struck out 230, the most in the NL.
All three awards, plus the Most Valuable Player awards, will be announced live on MLB Network next week. The Rookie of the Year awards will be announced on Monday, followed by the Manager of the Year announcements on Tuesday, Cy Young awards on Wednesday, and MVP awards on Thursday.