Washington Nationals News: Bryce Harper earns first NL MVP Award

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Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was one of the best players in baseball during his breakout 2015 season. Tonight, he was rewarded for his efforts with one of baseball’s most prestigious recognitions — the National League MVP Award.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) awarded Harper with the highest single-season award a player can get. While most expected Harper to be named the NL’s MVP, it’s still a monumental accomplishment for the 23-year-old, who had one of the best seasons by any player in recent memory.

Harper dominated in all aspects of the game last season, hitting .330 with 42 home runs and 99 RBIs. His 42 homers were tied for the most in the NL. Harper also led the league in runs (118), on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649) and OPS (1.109).

Of course, a big part of Harper’s success was the fact that he managed to stay healthy all season long for the first time since 2012. The outfielder played in 153 games in 2015, which is the most games he’s played in a season in his four-year career.

"“Staying healthy puts good numbers up,” Harper told MLB.com. “If you stay healthy and try to do the things that you can to win ballgames and do what you can for your team, that’s all that matters.”"

The MVP Award is not the first accolade Harper has earned for his phenomenal 2015 season. The outfielder made his third career All-Star Game appearance after a great first half and also earned a Silver Slugger Award and the NL Hank Aaron Award after the season. MLB players also voted Harper as the NL’s Most Outstanding Player earlier this offseason.

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Harper was also named the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America’s NL MVP earlier today. The outfielder earned that distinction with 170 first-place votes while being named on all 180 ballots.

From the moment the Nationals drafted Harper with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, many believed it was only a matter of time before the young superstar emerged into one of baseball’s best players. For Harper, that “breakout” moment was in 2015.

His MVP award is not only the first in his career, but it is also the first MVP award in Nationals/Expos history. The last time a Washington player won an MVP Award was in 1925, when Roger Peckinpaugh won it with the Senators.

Perhaps the best part of Harper’s historic 2015 season is that he’s still only 23 years old and doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. Hopefully for the Nationals, Harper can build off his incredible 2015 campaign and put up even better numbers next season.

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