Bryce Harper Is Named National League Rookie Of The Year!!!

Bryce Harper Is Named National League Rookie Of The Year!!!

From The Washington Times:

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper capped a historic first season in the major leagues with the ultimate  first-year prize. Harper was named the 2012 Baseball  Writers Association of America Rookie of the Year Tuesday night, joining  American League winner Mike Trout as this  year’s honorees.

Harper, who was 19 during the season, is  the first Nationals player to win to win Rookie of the Year and the franchise’s  first since Andre Dawson won it for the Montreal Expos in 1977. He hit .270 with 22  home runs, 59 RBI and 98 runs, while finishing with a 4.9 Wins Above  Replacement, per FanGraphs.

There were two previous Rookie of the Year awards handed out this offseason  with neither going to Harper. But in a one-hour special on MLBNetwork Tuesday night, Harper beat out Cincinnati’s Todd  Frazier and Diamondbacks left-hander Wade  Miley for the BBWAA honors. Harper had  112 total points, including 16 first-place votes to Miley’s  12. He beat out Miley by just seven points,  but he was the clear winner.

“Just being able to be [mentioned] with the names of Jackie  Robinson and Mike Piazza is an honor,” Harper said on MLBNetwork. “To have such a  great team that I played for the whole year, they really made this year fun.  This was just icing on the cake.”

“He had a terrific season,” Nationals general manager Mike  Rizzo said last week. “The ability level, that was as advertised. But he  really exceeded my expectations in the way he conducted himself in the  clubhouse, the professionalism, the way he interacted with his teammates and  really as a young kid showed the maturity and the leadership to go out there and  play everyday. He was one of the mainstays on a team [that won 98 games and the National League East title]. He was  integral part of that team.”

Harper was called up to the major leagues  April 28 — earlier than expected — out of necessity. With third baseman Ryan  Zimmerman out with an ailing shoulder and the offense struggling to score  runs and support its stellar pitching staff, the Nationals turned to Harper for a spark.

It took him very little time to provide it.

Harper’s debut, under Hollywood’s bright  lights at Dodger Stadium, was a raucous night. His first plate appearance was  greeted with resounding boos, a testament to the immense hype and attention that  had been paid to his every move since before he was tabbed with the No. 1  overall pick in the 2010 draft. His first hit was a rocket double. His first  stolen base was of home plate.

And all of it was done with the fire and passion that came to be synonymous  for the way the Nationals’ phenom plays the game.

The months that followed featured a steady ascension up the historical  leaderboards as Harper put together one of  the greatest teenage seasons of all time, which he finished with a flourish by  hitting .330 in September as arguably the team’s best hitter during a  pressure-packed stretch run. As far as history goes, pick a category and Harper is near the top of it.

His 22 home runs were the second most among teenagers in baseball history,  with Tony Conigliaro’s 24 the only one to ever hit more. His 98 runs scored  second only to Senators third baseman Buddy Lewis in 1936. His 18 stolen bases second only to Ty Cobb. He hit 26  doubles, third behind Robin Yount and Phil Cavarretta, and his nine triples good  for fifth all time.

And with each day, Harper continued to  learn the center field position a little bit more and establish himself as a  significant player there.

Perhaps more impressive than the numbers, though, was the way Harper integrated himself into a clubhouse of players several years his senior without  missing a beat. The way he was able to seemingly live up to the immense hype  that accompanied him. His every move was watched, his every phrase a possible  slogan in the works. Sen. Harry Reid quoted his “clown question, bro,” throwaway  line on Capitol Hill after Harper uttered  the phrase one night in Toronto.

Harper was an All-Star, a replacement for  injured Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, and soaked in the opportunity to  spend time among the game’s greats. But struggle followed as major league  pitchers began to adjust to Harper’s  strengths.

Harper hit just .233 in July and August,  but in the season’s final 44 games, he hit .327 with 12 home runs and 26  extra-base hits. He turned 20 on Oct. 16, four days after the Nationals were  eliminated from the National League Division Series. Harper was just 3-for-23 in the playoffs, but he tripled and homered in their Game 5  loss.

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