When I was 19 years old I was barely passing my classes in college, but Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper wins major awards. Harper beat Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley for the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, edging him by only seven points (112-105).
Harper, who was called up to the big leagues in early May, was electric on and off the field for the Nationals. Although he did have his hiccups during the season, Harper finished with a very respectable .270/.340/.477/.817 slashline and a 4.9 fWAR. It’s safe to say that the Nationals may not have made the playoffs if Harper didn’t produce at the high level that he did.
On the other side of the coin, Wade Miley may not have won the award, but received the proper recognition he deserved. Miley finished the season with a 16-11 record, including a 3.33 ERA and 3.15 FIP, which was good for a 4.8 fWAR. There was no doubt that Miley was the rookie pitcher of the year, but the writers got this one right.
The fact that Harper accomplished all of this at 19 is remarkable. Sure, he was a number one draft pick and was hyped beyond belief, but he’s still 19. No one could have expected the season Harper had in 2012. The most optimistic projections had him playing around 80 games and maybe getting a 2.0 fWAR. No one could have predicted him to be one of the best outfielders in the game.
It’s safe to assume this won’t be the only award Bryce Harper wins in his MLB career.