For Harper, the Nats' dynamic, 23-year-old right fielder, the Esurance Awards, announced by hosts Brian Kenny and Dan Plesac on MLB Network and MLB.com last November, came on the heels of his unanimous 2015 National League Most Valuable Player Award. On Tuesday, he was given the actual hardware to add to his collection.
"It's an honor to get these awards, but now, I'm all about putting 2015 behind me and concentrating on 2016," Harper said. "For me, it's all about getting the at-bats and getting on base and trying to build on last year."
Harper's 2015 was nothing short of remarkable. He hit .330, led the NL in home runs (42, tied with Colorado's Nolan Arenado), runs scored (118), on-base percentage (.460) and slugging percentage (.649).
Harper is the only player in Major League Baseball history with at least 42 home runs, 124 walks and 118 runs scored at age 22 or younger, and he is the youngest player in MLB history with at least 42 home runs and 124 walks in a season. Previously it was Babe Ruth, who hit 54 home runs and had 150 walks in 1920 at the age of 25.
Harper beat out NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA) and American League MVP Josh Donaldson (41 homers, .939 OPS) to win the Best Major Leaguer category.
Scherzer, who did not participate in the presentation because he was Tuesday night's starting pitcher against the Phillies, received his award for his Oct. 3rd no-hit performance against the Mets at Citi Field. The 31-year-old right-hander registered 17 strikeouts, a Nationals single-game record which also tied Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts in a no-hitter and set the record for the most strikeouts in a no-hit, no-walk game.
Scherzer's no-hitter was his second of 2015. His first came on June 20th against the Pirates. Scherzer became the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same regular season, along with Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938). Roy Halladay tossed a pair of no-hitters in 2010, with one coming in the postseason.
In his first no-hitter, Scherzer struck out 10 Pirates for his second consecutive shutout. He lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth, when he hit pinch-hitter Jose Tabata on the right elbow on a 2-2 count. Scherzer was the team leader in wins (14), strikeouts (276) and ERA (2.79) in 2015.
"You go out there and accomplish as much as you can," Scherzer said last August. "When you start talking about that stuff, you don't have words for it."
Now, though, Scherzer has another award to add to his collection.
Other finalists for the Best Performance award included Arrieta's no-hitter -- the 14th in Cubs history -- and Blue Jays Edwin Encarnaction's Aug. 29th performance, in which he hit three homers and drove in nine runs in a remarkable day at the plate.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five components, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters.
Individual awards were presented for 24 separate categories, including Best Major Leaguer, Everyday Player, Bounceback Player, Social Media Personality and Postseason Performer. Winners were also recognized for the year's Best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Celebrity Fan and Fan Catch.