Bryce Harper became the youngest unanimous MVP winner in baseball history Thursday, capturing the NL award despite his Washington Nationals missing the playoffs.
Josh Donaldson took the AL MVP, earning the honor after helping boost the Toronto Blue Jays back into the postseason for the first time since 1993.
Harper turned 23 on Oct. 16, after the playoffs already had started. He got all 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year led the majors in slugging percentage and on-base average. The outfielder hit .330 with 42 home runs and 99 RBI.
Harper was the fourth-youngest player overall to win an MVP, with Stan Musial, Johnny Bench and Vida Blue also 22 but not quite as old.
Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was second in the voting and Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto was third.
“You could see throughout the season what this guy meant to this ballclub. And don’t forget, this guy carried us throughout the whole season,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said.
Donaldson received 23 first-place votes. Angels outfielder Mike Trout got the other first-place votes and finished second for the third time — he won the award last year. Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain was third.
Donaldson led the AL with 123 RBI and topped the majors by scoring 122 runs. He hit 41 home runs and batted .297.
“I feel like I was able to take advantage of the opportunities put in front of me,” Donaldson said.
Twins lose Robinson
Shane Robinson signed a minor-league contract with the Indians, according to a story on the Indians’ website, choosing a team facing a shortage of outfielders over the Twins’ projected surplus. Robinson appeared in 83 games with the Twins in 2015 before becoming a free agent earlier this month.