In his fourth major league campaign, 22-year-old Washington Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper, who turned 23 after the regular season ended, led the National League in On-Base Percentage (.460), Slugging Percentage (.649), Weighted On-Base Average (.461), Weighted Runs Created Plus (198), Isolated Power (.319) and Wins Above Replacement (9.5 fWAR). The no.1 overall pick of the 2010 Draft finished the season tied for first in Home Runs (42) and finished second in walks (124) and Batting Average (.330).
Harper was the first player in Nationals' history (2005-present) to lead the National League in HRs. He set the Nats' single season record for walks, topping Adam Dunn's 116, and topped the franchise mark as well, passing Montreal Expos' outfielder Ken Singleton, who'd held the franchise record since 1973.
He was also the only player in MLB history with at least 42 home runs, 124 walks and 118 runs scored in a season at age 22 or younger. So did he do enough to earn himself the NL MVP Award?
"I think so," Jordan Zimmermann told reporters towards the end of the regular season. "His numbers say he is and we'll see at the end of the season, but I'm pulling for him."
"He had a great season," Jayson Werth said. "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."
Nationals' Mike Rizzo talked up Harper last week when he spoke to reporters about the possibility of signing the 2010 no.1 overall pick to a extension at some point in the near future.
"We want Bryce to be here for a long, long time" Rizzo said, as quoted by Washington Post writer James Wagner.
"He’s a guy I’ve seen play forever it seems. I’ve seen him play since he was 14. He was a guy we signed, drafted and developed. He’s turned into an MVP-type player for us. We love the guy. We’ve got him locked in for the near future and we certainly would love for him to be a National for life. …. I think he likes being in D.C. I think he loves playing for the Nationals. He loves the city of D.C. I think that bodes well for us."
Harper has already won the Hank Aaron Award, the National League's Outstanding Player Award and a Silver Slugger. Will he add the NL MVP Award to his trophy case tonight?
The announcement will be made between 6:00-7:00 PM on the MLB Network. Harper's competition?
Arizona Diamondbacks' first baseman Paul Goldschmidt put up a .321/.435/.570 line with 38 doubles, 33 home runs, 118 walks, a .418 wOBA, a .249 ISO and 164 wRC+ in 159 games and 695 plate appearances, over which he was worth 7.4 fWAR.
Cincinnati Reds' first baseman Joey Votto finished the season with a .314/.459/.541 line, 33 doubles, 29 home runs, 143 walks, a .427 wOBA, .229 ISO and 172 wRC+ over 158 games and 695 PAs, over which he too was worth 7.4 fWAR.
We find out who wins tonight...