Murphy led NL second basemen in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement with 4.3, fourth-best in baseball. His .928 on-base-plus-slugging percentage was best among NL second basemen by more than 130 points. His .322 batting average beat out Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu for best in the NL and was second only to Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon (.331).
While Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon made compelling cases at their positions, Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna beat out Harper in the outfield, while Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado took home the awards at first and third. Buster Posey, Corey Seager and Adam Wainwright round out the NL honorees.
Murphy earned the award while battling knee trouble through a still-unclear portion of the 2017 season, an issue that resulted in surgery Oct. 20 to repair the articular cartilage in his right knee. General Manager Mike Rizzo said he is “optimistic” Murphy will be ready for Opening Day but cautioned that he could not say for sure in November. Either way, Murphy’s offseason and spring training seem almost certain to be truncated by the procedure, which presents a challenge as he plays for his next contract. Murphy is entering the final year of a three-year deal worth $37.5 million.
Gold Glove Award winners were announced earlier this week, but no Nationals won those. The four major awards — Cy Young, MVP, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year — will be announced next week. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are finalists for the NL Cy Young.