Washington Nationals Team Awards at the First Quarter Mark

May 29, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals Park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals Park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 24, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) reacts after he hits a two-run home run during the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) reacts after he hits a two-run home run during the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

MVP

Last year, Bryce Harper became the youngest player in the history of baseball to unanimously selected as the league MVP. In 2016, however, Harper falls short of earning that title due to the presence of free agent acquisition Daniel Murphy.

The former Met received all six votes from the DoD staff, and by taking a quick look at his numbers, it’s easy to see why. Murphy enters play Monday owner of a .387/.420/.597 slash line with 72 hits, seven home runs, 14 doubles, and 30 RBIs. Of the 49 games he has appeared in this season, Murphy has only failed to get a hit in seven of them.

Among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category, Murphy is the clear-cut MVP. He’s recorded 24 multi-hit games, the most in the majors, and has 23 extra-base hits. Murphy has only struck out 22 times, the fewest on the team among players with more than 140 at-bats. While he leads the club with five errors in the field, the Nationals knew that was coming when they signed him. They will certainly take the miscues with the glove as long as the hits keep on coming.

Bryce Harper has put up some solid numbers to keep himself in the running (13 HRs, .416 OBP), but his prolonged slump over the past month knocked him down a notch. This title is still his for the taking with more than 100 games left to play. If Harper can rediscover his rhythm, the sky’s the limit.

Next: Cy Young