MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Harper, Scherzer nominated for Esurance MLB Awards

Harper, Scherzer nominated for Esurance MLB Awards

PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and right-hander Max Scherzer were exciting to watch during the 2015 season.

No wonder Harper and Scherzer are candidates for the Esurance MLB Award. Harper has a chance to win the Best Major Leaguer award and Best Everyday Player award, while Scherzer is a candidate to win the Best Starting Pitcher award.

Best Starting Pitcher: Scherzer

Scherzer moved to the National League and continued his impressive career by throwing two no-hitters and carving up opposing lineups.

Harper, a leading candidate for the NL Most Valuable Player Award, lived up to expectations, leading the NL in several categories including home runs, runs scored, on-base and slugging percentage.

In his first season with the Nationals, Scherzer became the ace of Washington's pitching staff. He was the team leader in wins (14), strikeouts (276) and ERA (2.79). His best game was Oct. 3, when he pitched a no-hitter against the Mets at Citi Field.

Scherzer became the sixth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season. Roy Halladay (2010, including one in the postseason), Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks ('52), Allie Reynolds ('51) and Johnny Vander Meer ('38) are the others.

Scherzer had 17 strikeouts in that game, a Nationals record, which tied Ryan for the most in any no-hitter and set the record for the most strikeouts in a no-hit, no-walk game.

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 will go to the Best Major Leaguer in addition to the winners in the following categories: The Best Everyday Player, Starting Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Breakout Player, Bounceback Player, Manager, Executive, Social Media Personality and postseason performer.

Winners will also be recognized for the year's Best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Celebrity Fan, Fan Catch, Interview, TV Call, Radio Call, Player-Fan Interaction, Video Board Moment and Trending Topic.

Among those categories, the Nationals have 11 additional nominees, including Scherzer for best performance with his historic no-hitter on Oct. 3. The right-hander came just one error shy of a perfect game, striking out 17 and posting the second highest nine-inning game score in Major League history and the highest ever for a no-hitter (104). Kerry Wood compiled a score of 105 with the Cubs on May 6, 1998 when he struck out 20 in a one-hitter with no walks vs. the Astros.

Harper received several nods for his social media presence and interaction with fans. He's up for Best Social Media Personality and Best Trending Topic as well as Best Social Media Post for his selfie with a first-row fan at Nationals Park. Harper is also nominated three times for Best Player-Fan Interaction.

In the broadcast booth, Nats broadcaster Bob Carpenter and radio voice Charlie Slowes are among the nominees for Best Call in TV and Radio, respectively. And Gio Gonzalez and Scherzer were each recognized for their skills in front of the mic, with both in the mix for Best MLB Interview.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.