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Rizzo named top exec by Boston chapter of BBWAA

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was named the Executive of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Rizzo will officially receive the award, presented annually since 1967, at a ceremony on Jan. 24 in Boston.

Rizzo is the third member of the Nationals to win a postseason award. Outfielder Bryce Harper was named National League Rookie of the Year, while Davey Johnson won NL Manager of the Year honors.

Rizzo was one of the biggest reasons the Nats won their first NL East title this past season. The GM made the trade for left-hander Gio Gonzalez last winter, and Gonzalez went on to lead the Major Leagues in victories with 21.

Rizzo also has the distinction of selecting pitcher Steven Strasburg and Harper in the First-Year Player Draft in 2009 and '10, respectively.

But Rizzo's best signing of all might have come in June 2011, when he inked Johnson as manager.

Under Rizzo, the Nationals have won at least 10 more games each of the last three years (59 wins in 2009, 69 in '10, 80 in '11, 98 in '12). The last team to do so was the Boston Red Sox from 1906-09.

Prior to this past season, Washington's Minor League system was named the best in baseball per the 2012 Prospect Handbook, which is published annually by Baseball America. The Nats' No. 1 ranking stands in stark contrast to the 2007 season, when their system ranked 30th.

Washington Nationals