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11/07/11 2:01 PM EST

Morse, Clippard take home Nats team awards

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals finished in third place in the National League East this past season, their highest finish since moving from Montreal after the 2004 campaign.

Outfielder Michael Morse and reliever Tyler Clippard played a big role in the team's improvement. In a vote taken by MLB.com editors, Nationals broadcasters (Charlie Slowes, Dave Jageler and Bob Carpenter) and public relations staff (John Dever and Mike Gazda), Morse was selected the team's Most Valuable Player and Breakout Player of the Year.

This past season was the first time Morse was given a chance to play every day, and he took advantage of the situation, leading Washington in almost every offensive category, including home runs (31), RBIs (95) and batting average (.303). He was also an above-average defender at first base and in left field.

Team Awards 2011

"First, I like hitting with men on base," Morse said. "I feel I can contribute a lot to this team. It's being comfortable. I'm getting an opportunity to play."

Clippard was voted unanimously as Washington's best pitcher, going 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 38 holds. An NL All-Star, Clippard had 104 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings.

The Nationals are unlikely to boast any league award winners in 2011. Second baseman Danny Espinosa is a long shot to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, with Braves closer Craig Kimbrel the favorite.

An excellent defensive second baseman, Espinosa was up and down at the plate, hitting .236 with 21 home runs, 66 RBIs and 72 runs scored.

Washington is hoping to compete for the pennant next year, and maybe 2012 will bring league awards for several Nats players.

National Awards
NL Most Valuable Player Year Cy Young Year NL Rookie of the Year Year
None -- Pedro Martinez 1997 Carl Morton 1970
Andre Dawson 1977
Manager of the Year Year Silver Slugger Year Gold Glove Year
Gene Mauch 1973 Andre Dawson 1980 Mike Jorgenson 1973
Dick Williams 1979 Gary Carter 1981 Ellis Valentine 1978
Buck Rodgers 1987 Andre Dawson 1981 Gary Carter 1980
Felipe Alou 1994 Gary Carter 1982 Andre Dawson 1980
Al Oliver 1982 Gary Carter 1981
Andre Dawson 1983 Andre Dawson 1981
Gary Carter 1984 Gary Carter 1982
Hubie Brooks 1985 Andre Dawson 1982
Tim Raines 1986 Andre Dawson 1983
Tim Wallach 1987 Andre Dawson 1984
Andres Galarraga 1988 Andre Dawson 1985
Larry Walker 1992 Tim Wallach 1985
Vladimir Guerrero 1999 Tim Wallach 1988
Vladimir Guerrero 2000 Andres Galarraga 1989
Vladimir Guerrero 2002 Andres Galarraga 1990
Jose Vidro 2003 Tim Wallach 1990
Livan Hernandez 2004 Larry Walker 1992
Alfonso Soriano 2006 Marquis Grissom 1993
Ryan Zimmerman 2009 Larry Walker 1993
Marquis Grissom 1994
Orlando Cabrera 2001
Ryan Zimmerman 2009

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