WASHINGTON — Even if the team fell well short of expectations, individual Washington Nationals players will be bringing home the hardware this awards season.
Aging franchise pillar Ryan Zimmerman turned back the clock in 2017, producing arguably his best season yet, and was named the Players’ Choice winner for the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Zimmerman’s career can be traced to the start of the Nationals in D.C., and his star had begun to fade as the team around him got better. His lone All-Star appearance was in 2009 and he hadn’t played a season with more than 115 games since 2013.
But in 2017, he hit .303/.358/.573, his highest average and on-base percentage since 2010, and the highest slugging percentage of his career. It also marked an increase of 85 points on last year’s average, 86 points on his on-base percentage, and 288 points on his slugging.
Along the way, he tallied the second All-Star appearance of his career and his first as a first baseman. In late July, Zimmerman became D.C. home run king, passing Frank Howard and finishing the season with 251 for his career.
Separately, Max Scherzer, who has been named a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award, has been named the Players’ Choice for National League Outstanding Pitcher.
Scherzer finished the 2017 campaign with a remarkable WAR of 6.0 He finished first in the NL in strikeouts (268), opponent on-base plus slugging percentage (.566) and WHIP (0.90). Scherzer’s knack for strikeouts was evidenced by double-digit strikeout totals in 15 of 31 starts.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scherzer is just the fourth player in MLB history to tally 250 strikeouts in four consecutive seasons. Not surprisingly, this is the fifth year in a row in which Scherzer has been an All-Star and earned Cy Young votes.
Scherzer previously won the Players’ Choice award in the American League as a member of the Detroit Tigers in 2013.