Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards

Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards
November 7, 2012, 6:45 pm
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Davey Johnson, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez have all been named finalists for major awards that will be handed out next week by the Baseball Writers Association.

Harper is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Monday evening. Johnson is up for NL Manager of the Year, to be revealed Tuesday evening. And Gio Gonzalez was among the top three finishers in voting for the NL Cy Young Award, the winner set to be named next Wednesday evening.

The only BBWAA award without a finalist from the Nationals will be NL MVP, though both Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond are expected to have received top 10 votes by the writers.

Of the three Nationals who were named finalists, Johnson appears the likeliest award winner. The 69-year-old manager guided a franchise that had never posted a winning season since it arrived in Washington in 2005 to an MLB-best 98 wins and the NL East title before it lost the NLDS to the Cardinals in five games.

Johnson's toughest competition will come from Dusty Baker, who led the Reds to a 97-65 record. Bruce Bochy, whose Giants went on to win the World Series, is the third finalist among NL managers.

(Voting for all BBWAA awards are submitted before the start of the playoffs, so only regular-season performance is taken into consideration.)

Harper appears to have a good chance of becoming the first Washington player to win Rookie of the Year honors since Senators outfielders Albie Pearson and Bob Allison captured back-to-back awards in 1958 and 1959.

Harper led all NL rookies with 98 runs and 57 extra-base hits, finished second with 22 homers and 18 stolen bases and third with a .477 slugging percentage and .817 OPS. The other rookie finalists in the NL: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley.

Gonzalez faces a tougher challenge to capture NL Cy Young Award honors, with Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey the odds-on favorite to win. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw also finished among the top three.

The five finalists for NL MVP: Giants catcher Buster Posey, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, Padres third baseman Chase Headley and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The winner of that award will be revealed on Nov. 15.