Washington Nationals: 3 Nats have inside track on awards
By Brian Foley
The Washington Nationals have four of the nine best hitters by OPS in the National League, but only one of them has a legitimate shot to snag the trophy.
Anthony Rendon ranks second in WAR in the NL right now thanks to his elite two-way play, but his lack of notoriety around the league will hurt him once the votes comes around. We’ll have more on Ryan Zimmerman later, but his poor defense at first base remains an issue; along with his average walk rate, Zim’s otherwise excellent season does not quite stack up with his peers. Daniel Murphy has been as good as anyone in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup, but he too is a tick behind the league’s top trio of bats.
Harper has a real shot in this race though. Only three senior circuit players have an OPS over 1.000 right now – Joey Votto, Harper, and Paul Goldschmidt – but with Votto’s Reds already well under .500, Harper and Goldschmidt should be in a two-man race the rest of the way.
Even though Goldschmidt has the slightest of statistical edges right now, Harper is still the favorite for the award. Similarly to Scherzer, Harper captures the attention of the baseball world every time he steps to the plate. He has a flair for the dramatic, a wild elegance about him that makes him both polarizing and thrilling to watch.
While Goldschmidt quietly does his thing in Arizona, Harper is flying around the field in D.C. And whether it should or not, style of play matters – and Harper has style in spades.