Nationals in Contention… for Awards

We’re just about two months into the season, so while the sample sizes are small, we’re only a week or two away from 1/3 of the season being done. Especially for starting pitchers, who only need about 2 more starts to get that first third out of the way. So yes it’s early, but a few guys on the Nats are putting together resumes that will look good when end of year awards are being decided.

Starting with pitching, Gio Gonzalez is putting together what could be a strong Cy Young contending season. Among qualified starters, here how he ranks in the league among qualified NL starters:

  • 1st in Ks (60) and K/9 (11.10)
  • 3rd in OPS against (.499)
  • 9th in ERA (2.22)
  • Tied for 2nd in W (5)
  • 8th in WHIP (0.99)

Speaking of strong pitching, Jordan Zimmermann actually ranks right above Gio in ERA (2.14) and WHIP (0.97), but his 2-3 record may hurt any award chances. And his 32 Ks tie him with Lohse and Dickey for 47th in the league. However, he is 7 for 7 in quality starts, so that consistancy could pay off later in the year. Strasburg also has looked great, although he ranks behind Gio and Zimm in ERA and WHIP, he has been dominant in all but one start. But he might not even qualify for the ERA crown in October, so he probably can’t win an award.

Adam LaRoche, perhaps surprisingly considering how he normally starts, is also working on an award winning season. Here’s how he ranks among qualifiers in the NL:

  • 8th in Average (.339)
  • 6th in OBP (.429)
  • 9th in SLG (.595)
  • 8th in OPS (1.024)
  • 11th in HR (7)
  • 4th in RBI (29)

Now LaRoche has a much bigger hill to climb, as guys like Kemp and Wright rank above him in almost all of those categories. But it’s still worth noting how well he’s playing.

Remember, unless someone makes a completely ridiculous case for themselves, both of these awards tend to go to guys on playoff teams, last year being an exception.

And finally, there is the Rookie of the Year award. I completely dismissed Bryce Harper‘s potential to win this one, as I expected his callup to be about two months from today. But with an April debut, he’s fully in the mix. However, that’s not who I want to talk about. Harper doesn’t rank highly in many categories yet, not even the power ones, as guys like Wilin Rosario have gotten off to hot starts. I fully expect this to change as the games pile up (we’ve already seen the power potential Harper has, and it’s impressive). But there is a rookie on this team who is doing well in some very interesting categories, and that’s Steve Lombardozzi. Here’s how he ranks among NL rookies with 50 or more PAs:

  • 1st in Average (.319)
  • 1st in OBP (.394)
  • 5th in OPS (.775)
Alright, so that’s about it for Lombardozzi, and no, I don’t expect him to actually win the award. Especially if he continues to be a benchwarmer. His last start was May 6, the last game before Ryan Zimmerman returned from the DL. Since then, the utility man (who has done nothing but hit at every level he’s been at) has started zero out of nine games. But those numbers from a 23 year old infielder should make him very interesting for the team, and you’d hope would mandate more playing time. So far, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that way.

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