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Bryce Harper's MVP plaque was never really in doubt

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper walks to the dugout and reacts to the stands after hitting a walk-off double in the 12th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Washington.
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper walks to the dugout and reacts to the stands after hitting a walk-off double in the 12th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Washington. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

I'm guessing Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper wasn't sitting around drumming his fingers on the kitchen table waiting to see who got named National League Most Valuable Player on Tuesday night. He knows what he did this past season and he's not prone to anything resembling self-doubt.

No one else should have been wondering either.

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There were three finalists for television entertainment purposes only. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto had great seasons, but there was no way to paint by the numbers that ended up in a picture of anyone other than Harper.

Harper led the National League in runs scored tied for the lead in home runs. He led the majors in on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649) and OPS (1.109). He also led all major leaguers with a WAR of 9.9.

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It was unanimous, and should have been.

It's not all about the numbers, of course, but this particular election was not muddied up by the question of who led his team into the postseason. None of them did. If you want to split hairs, Harper's team came the closest of the three.

For years, the Baseball Writers' Association of America has been careful not to place any strict voting requirement relating to team performance, though the award is supposed to be based largely on the winner's value to his team. It was not originally intended to be just a "Player of the Year" award, but it is often that and there is no question that Harper fits the bill.

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