When Bryce Harper missed out on the batting title in the last game of the regular season, now-former Nationals' skipper Matt Williams told reporters that though Harper fell short in that race, Washington's 22-year-old slugger would likely receive recognition this winter for the big season he put together in his fourth major league campaign.
Harper, the no.1 overall pick of the 2010 Draft, finished the year with a .330/.460/.649 line, 38 doubles and 42 home runs in 153 games and 654 plate appearances, over which he was worth 9.5 fWAR.
Williams said Harper told him he wanted to go out there in Game 162 of 162 and battle for the batting title, which Miami Marlins' infielder Dee Gordon eventually took.
"He wanted to play and he wanted to play the whole game," Williams told reporters.
"Certainly wanted to take a run at it, which he did. Hopefully the big prize is awaiting him."
Harper's teammate, Jayson Werth, was equally impressed with what Harper accomplished this season.
"I'm really proud of him," Werth said.
"He had a great season. MVP-caliber season. You don't see those too often. I've been playing however many years now, I've seen one. So we'll see if this is two. But he's been great, I think he's come a long way in a short period of time, and I think he's going to be a big part of this club going forward and it's been a pleasure to play with him."
In a press release this afternoon, Baseball America named Harper their Major League Player of the Year, noting that the Nats' outfielder was the first player in Expos/Nationals franchise history to win the award.
It was another in a long line of awards Baseball America has given Harper over the years after recognizing him in their "Baseball for the Ages" feature as a 12-year-old in 2005 and naming him BA's High School Player of the Year in 2009, which was the only time an underclassman ever won that award.
"It’s one thing for a player to have the kind of hype that has surrounded Bryce Harper since he was very, very young," BA Editor In Chief John Manuel said in a press release on the award. "It’s another to live up to it. Bryce Harper has done that."
"He has the world in the palm of his hand," Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez adds in the press release. "It’s just fun to see him play. And the sky’s the limit. I think he’s got more in him than that."
The Baseball America Major League Player of the Year Award will be presented to Harper during BA's Awards Gala which takes place during the Winter Meetings this December in Nashville.