This week, starting tonight with the rookie of the year award, the Nationals will find out how the voters of the BBWAA honored their individual performances this season. Awards week begins tonight at 6 p.m., when the BBWAA will announce the winner of the rookie of the year awards. It will be followed by manager of the year on Tuesday, Cy Young on Wednesday and most valuable player on Thursday.
The Nationals have finalists in three categories: Gio Gonzalez for Cy Young, Davey Johnson for manager of the year and Bryce Harper for rookie of the year tonight.
Harper will try to win the Nationals’ first rookie of the year honor; Ryan Zimmerman narrowly finished second to Hanley Ramirez in 2006. Now, if they held the vote based on which rookie made the biggest impact on the sport, Harper would win going away. He still seems like the favorite, but the vote figures to be close between Harper and Diamondbacks starting pitcher Wade Miley.
Miley lacks Harper’s name recognition, but he had a season worthy of consideration. In Arizona’s rotation from the start of the season to the finish, Miley went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA. Some voters may give Miley an edge because he, unlike Harper, did not begin the year in the minors. Harper finished his rookie year on a tear, but his late-summer slump may have stuck in some voters’ minds.
For the year, Harper hit .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs and 18 steals, one of the best seasons in history for a teenager. He played a strong center field and batted second, a “mainstay” on a first-place team, in General Manager Mike Rizzo’s description. Harper faced more scrutiny than Miley, and exceeded lofty expectations.
It is tricky to compare an outfielder and a lefty starter. In the FanGraphs.com formula for wins above replacement, Harper posted 4.9 and Miley punched up 4.8. In terms of value, they are close. In terms of impact, Harper wins hands down. Tonight, we’ll find out how the voters chose.