Right-hander Max Scherzer is a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award and third baseman Anthony Rendon is one of three finalists for NL Most Valuable Player, but the Nationals got as many snubs as finalists when the top three finishers for Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards were announced live on MLB Network tonight.
Manager Davey Martinez wasn’t listed among the top three vote-getters for NL Manager of the Year and right-hander Stephen Strasburg was not among from the three finalists in the Cy Young voting.
Winners of the BBWAA awards will be announced in a four-day stretch beginning with the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award on Monday, Nov. 11. Manager of the Year will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 12, followed by the Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and MVP on Thursday, Nov. 14. All results will be announced live on MLB Network.
Rendon has a shot at earning the first MVP trophy by a National since Bryce Harper in 2015. Rendon slashed .319/.412/.598 with 34 homers and led the league with 44 doubles and 126 RBIs. He posted career highs in batting average and home runs and matched his career best in doubles.
But the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (47 homers) and the Brewers’ Christian Yelich (44 homers) - the other two MVP finalists - are stiff competition for Rendon. Bellinger slashed .304/.406/.629 with 47 homers and 115 RBIs, plus an NL-high 351 total bases. Yelich slashed .329/.439/.671 with 44 homers, 97 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He led the league in batting average and on-base percentage and topped the majors in slugging percentage and OPS (1.110).
But Yelich did not play after Sept. 11 after fracturing his right kneecap. Bellinger was hitting .340 on July 16, before registering a .250 average over his final 63 games. Rendon missed time with an elbow injury early on, but seemed to get better as the season went on, hitting .336 in the second half.
Nats fans expected to see Strasburg and Scherzer battle for Cy Young honors, but Strasburg didn’t rank among the top three finishers in the BBWAA voting despite going 18-6 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.038 WHIP and 251 strikeouts in 33 starts. Strasburg led the league in victories.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner who went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 234 strikeouts while being limited to 27 starts in an injury-shortened season, was selected a finalist, along with the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.
deGrom won the award last season, denying Scherzer a third straight Cy Young. Scherzer finished second in last year’s voting.
Ryu was 14-5 with a 1.007 WHIP and a league-best 2.32 ERA in 29 starts. deGrom went 11-8 in 29 starts, posting a 0.971 WHIP, a 2.43 ERA and striking out a league-leading 255 batters.
Martinez did not crack the top three in Manager of the Year voting despite leading the Nats to the playoffs after a 19-31 start. Voting for BBWAA awards was conducted before the end of the regular season, so the Nats’ playoff run and eventual World Series didn’t help Martinez’s cause in his second year at the helm.
The three finalists for NL Manager of the Year were the Brewers’ Craig Counsell, the Cardinals’ Mike Schildt and the Braves’ Brian Snitker.
Ironically, Martinez ended up beating Counsell in the NL wild card game and Shildt in the NL Championship Series on the way to the World Series title. But it is surprising that the Nationals skipper didn’t receive recognition for managing the biggest in-season turnaround this season.