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Rendon (MVP), Max (Cy Young) award finalists

@JamalCollier
November 4, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Nationals brought plenty of hardware back to D.C. during the postseason, there’s a chance a few players could add to the collection later this month, after two players were named finalists for Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards. Anthony Rendon is a finalist for the

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Nationals brought plenty of hardware back to D.C. during the postseason, there’s a chance a few players could add to the collection later this month, after two players were named finalists for Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards.

Anthony Rendon is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player Award for the first time in his career, and Max Scherzer is a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award, which has almost become an annual tradition. Winners for the BBWAA Awards will be announced starting next week on MLB Network with the NL and American League Cy Young Award winners revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, and the AL and NL MVP Award winners announced on Thursday, Nov. 14.

2019 BBWAA Awards finalists | All-time NL MVP winners | All-time NL Cy Young winners

Rendon entered himself into the MVP conversation -- which had been a perceived two-man race between fellow finalists Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and Christian Yelich of the Brewers -- with a breakout 2019 season that shone a light on one of the most undervalued players in baseball.

An All-Star for the first time in his career this season, Rendon posted a slash line of .319/.412/.598 and 7.0 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, which was fourth among NL position players. Rendon also hit a career-high 34 home runs, led the NL with 126 RBIs and his 154 wRC+ ranked third in the NL behind Yelich and Bellinger.

Rendon was also excellent defensively, finishing as a Gold Glove finalist once again, although he was edged out by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. This will be Rendon’s highest finish in NL MVP Award voting in his seven-year career, just as he enters free agency for the first time.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner (2013 with the Tigers and '16 and '17 with the Nationals), is a finalist for the honor for the fourth consecutive year, finishing either first or second in the voting each time. Scherzer is a finalist alongside the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, who won the award last year, and Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Although his final numbers look like a typical Scherzer season, the right-hander took an unorthodox path to get there, making two trips to the injured list with lingering back and shoulder injuries that interrupted his second half.

However, when healthy, Scherzer continued to stake his claim as one of the best pitchers in baseball even at the age of 35. He made 27 starts and pitched 172 1/3 innings, both of which were his lowest totals since becoming a full-time starter in 2009, but he still struck out 243, the third-highest total in the NL, with a 2.92 ERA. Scherzer posted the best FIP (2.45) and ranked second among NL pitchers in WAR (6.5, behind deGrom).

A few other Nationals were worthy of awards consideration but did not make the top three as finalists. That includes NL Rookie of the Year Award contender Victor Robles, NL Manager of the Year Award candidate Dave Martinez and NL Cy Young Award candidates Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.