This year, SB Nation has asked all its MLB team blogs to present their choices for the best of baseball this year in the following categories.
Today: Hitter of the year (in all of MLB)
Tomorrow: Pitcher of the year (in all of MLB)
Wednesday: Pirates' best defensive play of the year
Thursday: Pirates' best celebration of the year
Friday: Best breakage of the unwritten rules (in all of MLB)
The first two categories are pretty straightforward, but I'd appreciate your nominations for the other three categories.
With regard to the MLB hitter of the year, there isn't much to think about -- it's Bryce Harper. (Honorable mentions go to Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto.) Harper finished first in the majors in OBP with a .460 mark that was 143 points better than MLB average. He finished first in slugging percentage, with a .649 figure that was 59 points high than his closest competitor (Trout). He finished second in the majors in walks, third in batting average, third in home runs ... there wasn't anything he didn't do well at the plate. I's a minor miracle that the Nationals managed to badly miss the playoffs despite Harper's ridiculous season, a 276-strikeout campaign from Max Scherzer, and what looked like a championship-caliber supporting cast. That takes nothing away from Harper, though, despite what Jonathan Papelbon might think.
Harper batted a mere .304/.360/.652 in six games against the Pirates, delivering a mammoth solo shot in the Scherzer no-hitter in June and a two-run homer against Charlie Morton the next day. While in Pittsburgh, he also deftly declined an invitation to the DuBois Central Catholic prom.