May 27, 2015

Nationals Matt Williams Named NL Manager of the Year

Matt Williams NL Manager of the Year


Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was named the 2014 National League Manager of the Year Tuesday night by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Williams received a total 109 points, including 80 first-place votes. Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle finished second in the voting, and San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was third.

Williams, who becomes the second manager in Nationals history to earn this honor, had an exceptionally successful rookie season in the dugout as he led the Nationals to an NL-best 96 victories and the National League East Championship.

“On behalf of the Lerner Family and the entire Washington Nationals organization, I want to offer heartfelt congratulations to Matt on this well-deserved award,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “His first year in the dugout was excellent, and it was a pleasure to watch him grow throughout. He is a respected leader, and the steady hand that navigated our team through many challenges this season.

“What we accomplished this season would not have been possible without the right man at the helm. That was Matt this season, and we’re all looking forward to 2015.”

Since the inception of the award in 1983, Williams is just the fourth first-year manager ever to win it. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joins Hal Lanier (Houston Astros, 1986), Dusty Baker (San Francisco Giants, 1993), and Joe Girardi (Florida Marlins, 2006).

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by this award,” Williams said. “This was a very special year for us, and I am proud of what we accomplished in my first season at the helm. For me, as a newcomer to the managerial fraternity, it is a privilege just to be considered amongst the best in our game. Clint and Bruce are certainly that.

“While this is an incredible acknowledgement by the writers, I know we have bigger goals to accomplish in Washington and I look forward to the challenge that the 2015 season will bring.”

The Nationals, though besieged by injuries, won their division by the largest margin (17.0 games) of any in the Major Leagues under Williams’ watch. Over the course of the season, the Nationals saw 948 total games missed due to stints on the Disabled List, with key players like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, Adam LaRoche and Denard Span accounting for 284 of those games.

While the Nationals withstood that barrage, Williams’ guided them toward steady improvement as the season progressed. After playing to a .500 record (27-27) through the season’s first two months, the Nationals were at least four games over the .500 mark in each remaining month of the season, finishing 69-39 from June through September. That stretch included a 19-10 month of August that featured a 10-game winning streak from Aug. 12-21, the longest winning streak in the National League this season.

On Sept. 16, the Nationals clinched their second National League East Division title in the last three years, and they finished the regular season with a 96-66 record.

Williams, 48, was named the fifth field manager in Nationals history on Oct. 31, 2013. The five-time All-Star third baseman was also voted by his managerial peers as the 2014 Sporting News Manager of the Year.

2012 Davey Johnson
2014 Matt Williams

NATS: Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby

New York Mets Captain David Wright selected Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper to participate in the National League Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game along with Colorado Rockies teammates Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer.

Gonzalez leads the National League with 24 home runs, while Cuddyer has 15 on the year and the 20-year-old Harper and Captain Wright each have 13.

The 2013 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.

Bryce Harper sporting his fantastic stirrups (1st inning) - Atlanta Braves v. Washington Nationals, 8/22/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Bryce Harper sporting his fantastic stirrups (1st inning) – Atlanta Braves v. Washington Nationals, 8/22/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Davey Johnson Named NL Manager of the Year


Davey Johnson is the 2012 NL Manager of the Year. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Congratulations to Nationals Manager Davey Johnson, who was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. In 2012, Johnson’s first full season as Nationals skipper, he led Washington to an MLB-leading 98 wins, an NL East title and D.C.’s first postseason berth in 79 years. The Nationals either led the NL East or shared its top spot for all but 10 days this season, and owned the best run differential (+137) in Major League Baseball.

Along the way, the 69 year-old Johnson managed one of baseball’s top rotations (NL-best 3.40 rotation ERA). Meanwhile, his lineups produced 194 home runs (second in NL) to establish both franchise (1969-2012) and D.C. baseball (1901-’71, 2005-’12) single-season marks. Johnson registered his seventh 90-win campaign and joined Billy Martin as the game’s lone skippers to take four different teams to the postseason.

Also from the Press Release:
“Davey Johnson’s legacy was secure well before he became our manager in 2011, but his performance this season has to rate among his best work” said Mike Rizzo, Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “He showed this club how to win despite being engaged in a pennant race for the first time. And he accomplished this with so many young players. It is no coincidence that under Davey’s watch, we witnessed breakout seasons from Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. I would like to offer my deepest congratulations and thanks to Davey and his family on behalf of the Lerner Family and our entire organization.”

Since assuming the Nationals’ managerial helm on June 27, 2011, Johnson’s Nationals are 138-107 (.563). In that same time span, only the Braves (139) have won more games among NL entries.

The BBWAA Manager of the Year award is the second of Johnson’s career. He won the AL version of the award in 1997 for his work with the Orioles, who posted the Junior Circuit’s top record (98-64, .605) that summer.

The 15-year duration between Johnson’s citations is the largest in the history of the BBWAA’s Manager of the Year Award, which was founded in 1983. Before tonight, Jim Leyland held the previous mark, as he went 14 seasons between earning his second (‘92 with Pittsburgh) and third (‘06 with Detroit) career managerial citations.

Johnson has authored six division titles (‘12 Nationals, ‘97 Orioles, ‘95 Reds, ‘94 Reds, ‘88 Mets, ‘86 Mets), one pennant (‘86 Mets) and one World Championship (‘86 Mets) during his stellar managerial career.

Also in 2012, Johnson registered his seventh 90-win campaign and joined Billy Martin (Twins, Tigers, Yankees, Athletics) as the game’s lone skippers to take four different teams to the postseason.

Among those to manage 1000 or more games, Johnson’s career winning percentage (1286-995, .564) ranks second among living managers behind his former skipper, Earl Weaver (.583).

Just three days ago (Sat, Nov. 10), the Nationals announced that Johnson will return in 2013 for his final managerial campaign before shifting to a consultant position with the Nationals in 2014.

Bryce Harper wins NL Rookie of the Year


Congratulations to Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper who was named National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Harper hit .270 with 26 doubles, nine triples, 22 home runs, 98 runs, 59 RBI, 56 walks and 18 stolen bases and paced NL rookies in runs, OPS (.817), game-winning RBI (12) and extra-base hits (57). Harper became the youngest position player ever named to the All-Star Game.

Harper won the NL Rookie of the Month award in both May and September and helped the Washington Nationals claim the franchise’s first full-season division title and reach the postseason.

Harper is the first D.C.-based winner since Bob Allison in 1959, and the first in franchise history since Andre Dawson in 1977.

Bryce Harper named 2012 NL Rookie of the Year (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

LaRoche, Desmond and Strasburg Win Silver Slugger Awards


Washington Nationals First Baseman Adam LaRoche, Shortstop Ian Desmond and Pitcher Stephen Strasburg were each named as recipients of the 2012 Louisville Silver Slugger Award.

LaRoche adds the offensive award to his 2012 Gold Glove.  Silver Sluggers are a career first for the trio.

Full list of 2012 Silver Slugger Winners. Washington Nationals received most 2012 Silver Sluggers for any MLB team.

Adam LaRoche homers on a fly ball to right field and Ryan Zimmerman scores in the 6th – Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals, 9/6/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Ian Desmond earns first career Silver Slugger. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg takes a curtain call after hitting his 1st MLB home run in 4th inning, May 20, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)


Washington Nationals Davey Johnson voted NL Manager of the Year by Sporting News

Davey Johnson readies his troops for the post-season. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The official BBWAA awards don’t come out until after the World Series is over, but like the Golden Globes are for the Oscars, the Sporting News Awards are a precursor to the other awards. Voted on by his fellow N.L. managers, the Washington Nationals’ Davey Johnson narrowly beat out the Cincinnati Reds’ Dusty Baker as N.L. manager of the year.

Johnson told Sporting News:

“To be recognized by my fellow comrades, a particularly accomplished bunch, makes this award especially meaningful. I send my thanks to them and the folks at Sporting News, as well as the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo for giving me the opportunity to manage such a special, talented group of men. To put on the uniform every day and compete is an honor I never take for granted,” Johnson says.

There should be plenty of hardware coming the Nats way this post-season, and this award for Johnson is well deserved. Under his guidance, the Nats achieved their best-ever finish since the relocation in 2005, won the N.L. East and qualified for the playoffs before losing a heartbreaking deciding Game 5 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

NATS: Adam LaRoche finished second in Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year voting

Congratulations to Washington Nationals First Baseman Adam LaRoche!

Adam LaRoche finished second in the Sporting News’ NL Comeback Player of the Year voting, just two votes behind San Francisco Giants’ Catcher Buster Posey.

Adam LaRoche smiling at fans welcoming him back after missing a few games – Philadelphia Philles v. Washington Nationals, August 1, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Bryce Harper Named NL Rookie of the Month


Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper has been named National League Rookie of the Month for September. It is his second Rookie of the Month honor of 2012. The 19-year-old rookie also garnered the award for his efforts during the month of May.

Bryce Harper – Philadelphia Phillies v. Washington Nationals, October 1, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals Jordan Zimmermann Named NL Pitcher of the Month


Washington Nationals Starter Jordan Zimmermann was named
National League Pitcher of the Month for July.

Jordan Zimmermann on the mound at Nationals Park, May 1 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Please note that Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez won the same award in April and May, respectively. Thus, this is the first time in 33 years, or since 1979, that three different pitchers from the same team have been named NL Pitcher of the Month in the same season. The Houston Astros turned the trick with four pitchers in the summer of 1979: Ken Forsh, Joe Niekro, Joaquin Andujar and J.R. Richard.

Nats top three starters Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann – Philadelphia Philles v. Washington Nationals, August 1, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)


Official Press Release from MLB:

Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for July, becoming the third different Nationals hurler to earn N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors this season, which is the most since 1979, when Houston Astros pitchers Ken Forsch (April), Joe Niekro (May), Joaquin Andujar (June) and J.R. Richard (September) all won monthly honors. This is Jordan’s first monthly award.

In six July starts, Zimmermann led qualifying Major League pitchers with a 0.97 ERA, allowing just four earned runs in 37.0 innings of work. The hard-throwing right-hander posted a 4-0 record, tying for the N.L. lead in wins, while ranking third in innings pitched and strikeouts (31). Zimmermann issued just four walks during the month and allowed a single home run. The Auburndale, Wisconsin native earned the win in his first career start in his home state as the Nationals bested the Brewers, 4-1, at Miller Park on July 28th. Zimmermann registered his Major League-leading 19th quality start in 21 outings, tossing 6.0 innings of one-run ball. The win marked the 10th  consecutive quality start for Zimmermann and it was his seventh consecutive start in which he worked at least 6.0 innings without allowing more than one earned run. On July 23rd, the Nationals’ second round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft allowed just four hits over 6.0 innings of work to earn the win in a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Zimmermann earned his second consecutive victory over an N.L. East opponent after besting the Miami Marlins on July 13th. In that outing, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point product struck out six in 6.0 scoreless innings with just one walk en route to a 5-1 win at Marlins Park. On July 8th, Zimmermann tossed 7.0 innings of three-hit, one-run ball, but did not factor in the decision as the Colorado Rockies topped the hometown Nationals, 4-3. The 26-year-old picked up the victory in his July 3rd outing, a 9-3 victory over the visiting San Francisco Giants. Zimmermann earned the win with 6.0 innings of work in which he allowed just a single earned run while striking out seven and not walking a batter. With the stellar month, Zimmermann improved his record to 8-6 on the season, and his 2.28 ERA is the third-best among qualifying Major League pitchers.

Other pitchers receiving votes included Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 SV, 31 SO, 14.1 IP) and newly-acquired Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm (4-0, 1.23 ERA, 26 SO, 36.2 IP).

The National League Pitcher of the Month for July, Jordan Zimmermann will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.

Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman named NL Player of the Week


Washington Nationals Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman was named National League Player of the Week (for the week ending July 22). This is Zim’s third career weekly award.

Ryan Zimmerman’s bat cracked in his hands during first at bat – Colorado Rockies v. Washington Nationals, 7/06/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman addressing media at ziMS 3rd Annual “A Night at the Park” at Nationals Park, June 14, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Official Press Release from MLB:


Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending July 22nd. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

In eight games last week, Zimmerman led the Majors with 15 hits and 32 total bases and ranked second in the N.L. with a .500 (15-for-30) batting average. The 27-year-old belted five home runs and notched a 1.067 slugging percentage, ranking second in the Majors in both categories. His nine runs scored were tied for the most in the N.L. while his .571 on-base percentage and eight RBI tied for second and third in the league, respectively. Zimmerman collected hits in seven of Washington’s eight games last week and logged five multi-hit efforts. On July 16th, the two-time Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winner collected three hits in a losing effort as the Nationals dropped the final game of a four-game series in Miami, 5-3. The following night, Zimmerman scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th to give Washington a 5-4 victory in the first game of a three-game series against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. On Friday, the fourth overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft went 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in an 11-10 extra-innings loss to the second-place Atlanta Braves in the first game of a four-game set in our nation’s capital. After the Nats dropped the first game of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader, Zimmerman went 2-for-4 in the night cap with an infield single in the bottom of the sixth inning, which led to the game-tying run in an eventual 5-2 victory for the Nationals. Zimmerman capped his stellar week with a 3-for-5, two-homer, three-RBI performance in Sunday’s game, leading the Nationals to a 9-2 victory. With 14 home runs this year, the 2009 N.L. All-Star is currently tied for second among N.L. third basemen. This is his third career weekly award, having won previously for the weeks ending August 5, 2007 and August 21, 2011.

Other noteworthy performances last week included Arizona’s Jason Kubel (.409, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 1.318 SLG) and Aaron Hill (.367, 11 H, HR, .424 OBP); Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (.304, 4 HR, 7 RBI, .826 SLG); and David Freese (.556, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI) of the St. Louis Cardinals.

In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Ryan Zimmerman will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at

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