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Bryce Harper edges Wade Miley to win NL Rookie of the Year award

Nov 12, 2012, 6:54 PM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

Bryce Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Year this evening by the BBWAA, beating out finalists Wade Miley and Todd Frazier. He received 16 first-place votes compared to 12 for Miley, three for Frazier and one for Wilin Rosario. It was a very close vote, as Harper and Miley were ultimately separated by just seven points. It would have been even closer if Miley wasn’t left off one ballot.

Mike Trout winning the American League Rookie of the Year has been a foregone conclusion for months now, but there was actually a bit of uncertainty in the National League coming into today, as there wasn’t really a bad choice among the field. However, voters ultimately went with Harper, who delivered a historic season relative to his age. In fact, only Dwight Gooden was younger — by one month — when he won the Rookie of the Year award in 1984.

While Harper didn’t make his major league debut until April 28 in Los Angeles, he ended up living up to the considerable hype by putting together one of the best seasons ever for a 19-year-old. The 2010 No. 1 overall pick batted .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs, 59 RBI, 18 stolen bases and an .817 OPS for the National League East champion Nationals while playing excellent defense in the outfield and winning over fans and his peers with his all-out style of play. Oh, and he also had one of the more memorable quotes of the year. Harper hit a bit of a wall during the dog days of July and August, opening the door for the likes of Frazier and Miley to take home the ROY, but he finished strong by hitting .341 with 10 home runs and a 1.098 OPS over his final 34 games.

As noted by our own Aaron Gleeman last month, here’s where Harper ranks compared to the best age-19 seasons of all-time:

Total bases (254): 1st
Extra-base hits (57): 1st
Runs (98): 2nd
Homers (22): 2nd
Doubles (26): 2nd
Walks (56): 2nd
Steals (18): 2nd
Slugging percentage (.477): 3rd
OPS (.817): 3rd
Plate appearances (597): 4th
Hits (144): 4th
Triples (9): 4th
Games (139): 5th
RBIs (59): 5th

If Harper’s impressive rookie season was any indication, there’s every reason to believe that the best is yet to come.

Complete voting results for the National League Rookie of the Year award can be found at

  1. kkolchak - Nov 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM


    The way he played this year it was really difficult to believe he was only 19. The Harper/Trout ROY tandem is one that fans will look back on with awe in years to come.

    • dickclydesdale - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      Ted Williams turning over in his grave when Bryce Harper sat out the final game to protect his .270 batting average…

    • dcfan4life - Nov 13, 2012 at 12:45 AM

      I dunno, some stiff competition in recent years for that awe feeling. Ryan Braun Dustin Padroia, Verlander Hanley Ramirez, Neftali Feliz Buster Posey. Thats in the last 5 years. I love Trout and Harper but there r 3 MVPs in there, possibly 4 if Posey wins this year.

  2. dcfan262 - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Way to go Big Harp!!! Making Washington proud!!

  3. whodeytn - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Frazier got Dusty’d.

    • okwhitefalcon - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      It’s clearly Tony LaRussa’s fault.

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      Without taking away from what Harper was able to accomplish this year, I think you’re right. Frazier’s numbers were far better than harpers until votto came back and Frazier was relegated to day game duty subbing for rolen. Dustys inability to cut ties with rolen cost Frazier a lot, which cost the team a lot come playoff time. Dusty pushes a lot of buttons just right on the team, but seems like there’s always an obvious one he misses regarding veterans vs youngsters. Can’t be too upset about it though, the future looks bright for the reds and guys like Harper, Miley and Frazier will be fun to watch. Although I suspect Frazier may be near his ceiling already and harper is just getting started.

  4. Marty - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Craig just ******* himself.

  5. roverkarlthecannedham - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    My word. Young Mr. Harper certainly is quite the battler. He is a good choice for the NL ROY.

  6. number42is1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    WOW! What are the odds that 2 players in their first yr of MLB service win ROY on the SAME freaking day? Dec 21st folks! It’s happening.

  7. brewcrewfan54 - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Harper is going to be a good one but its the Rookie of the Year award not the best 19 year old ever award. I’m not going to argue the results but the hype surrounding him won this award.

    • kkolchak - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      Harper’s WAR was 5.0 versus Miley’s 3.2 and Frazier’s 1.9. It was his talent as a great all around player, not hype, that won him the award.

    • Lukehart80 - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      If you’re not willing to argue with the results, why do you think it was “hype” that won him the award?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        It wasn’t hype alone that won it for him and obviously his numbers were up there with all the other rookies this year. But his backstory in my opinion pushed him over the top with the writers for this particular award.

  8. mrwillie - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Congrats to both. I look forward to many more years of watching both play ball. Go easy on the Braves Harper.

    • natstowngreg - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      Sure, if Jason Heyward goes easy on the Nats. :)

  9. indaburg - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Well deserved.

  10. Old Gator - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    It’s interestin’ in retrospeck that everyone seems to have forgotten all the dire predictions of what would befall the cocky, brash, outspoken young Bryce Harper of his first days in the show. He’s gonna set an alltime record for being hit by pitches. He’s gonna get spiked on double plays. His teammates will shut him up but good – wet towel hickies all over his tush, supreme wedgies galore, cold shoulders, closet ostracism, jelly in his shoes, you name it. He led his elders by example, infused them with his own enthusiasm and vivacity, and generally proved smarter and more adaptable than anyone predicted. I doubt if he’ll outgrow all of his Mephistophelian tendencies – I hope he won’t – but I agree that this kid won’t be a one-year wonder. And some day, I hope to hear him explain to some clueless spawrtsrighter that his contract reflects how much better a year he had than the President did.

    • natstowngreg - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Actually, every player in MLB makes more than the President. The President gets $400K; the 2012 MLB minimum was $480K (rising to $490K next season).
      [See the CBA, pp. 10-11:

      Though your average rookie doesn’t get a free house, free transportation, armed guards, and all the other perks that come with being President.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:14 PM

        Oops, link didn’t get copied correctly.

      • Old Gator - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        Heh heh, yeah, I know – the key words in my post, however, are how much better.

      • skids003 - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:49 AM

        And other than getting re elected, they had a better year too.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        Dunno about that, Gator. Getting re-elected makes for a pretty good year.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      Mephistophelian? This just got interesting.

  11. jdvalk - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    I guess got him record HR numbers for a rookie, especially plating half the games in what’s definitely not a HR park…

  12. jdvalk - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    So, it was Davey sitting a rookie who’d been starting consistently down the stretch for a meaningless afternoon game against the eliminated Phillies, but now I learn none of that mattered and that a guy sitting on a rookie HR mark was not only fretting over the coveted .270 mark (?) but had control of Davey’s lineup decisions (this not long after Davey shut down Strasburg. Gotcha!

  13. dunkindan - Nov 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Loved watching Yoenis Cespedes this year. He’s 26 and somehow that feels old now.

  14. mungman69 - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    How would Cespedes, Harper and Trout look in the same outfield? And that 22 year old slugger from Miami? How many of them will end up on the Yankees?

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      While a lot of people passed on Trout, it is interesting to think that the Nationals are one of them. They could have both of those guys in the outfield right now.

  15. braddavery - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    Don’t let the hype or his age fool you. Harper was hands-down the best overall rookie in the N.L. this season.

  16. wj4122 - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:35 AM

    Harper played very well as a rookie! Especially at his age, that is awesome! I really don’t care about his background story and don’t think that should influence any vote about his on field performance. He was energetic and played “all out” and did some awesome things, but that also got him in trouble at times . He will be fun to watch in the future. But I don’t see him ever batting above 300. A rookie of the year batting 270 :/

  17. mrredlegz - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    Not shocked by the outcome, but I am a little surprised that the Todd only got 45pts compared to the 112 and 105 by Harper and Miley. It was closer than that in my mind. Yeah, he faded a little down the stretch, but dude led the league in successful Heimlich maneuvers. That’s gotta count for something, right?

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Yes but Harper made up that point difference with the bonus points for over-the-top eye black.

  18. dsmaxsucks - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Who is Jeff Horrigan, why does he have an “honorary” vote for Milwaukee, when no writers from Milwaukee actually have a vote (other vote is a dude from Madison). More importantly, how could the Milwaukee rep leave Aoki off his ballot.

    This may have cost whatever Aoki’s first name is a fourth place finish. Look at their WARs man.


    • mrredlegz - Nov 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Prolly the same way Tom Groeschen of the Cincy Inquirer had Frazier 3rd. He knew he wouldn’t win and was skeered to be called a homer.

  19. craigisaloser - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Suck a hairy nut National fans….Bryce and the Nats will choke next year.

  20. onbucky96 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Has Satan Boras laminated Harper’s Free Agency book yet for the Evil Empire to read?

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