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SI calls Zimmermann Cy Young favorite

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SI calls Zimmermann Cy Young favorite

Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann may have not been named an All-Star, but his continued success through the start of the seasons second half is beginning to attract attention. Sports Illustrated released their Cy Young award watch on Thursday and has Washingtons number three starter at the top of the list.

Zimmermanns 2.28 ERA ranks third in the majors and second in the National League to only Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants. He has lasted at least six innings in each of his 21 starts this season, the longest streak of any pitcher in the league.

Here is SIs explanation for why he is now the N.L. Cy Young favorite:

He leaps to the top of the class this week on the strength of a red-hot run in which he hasn't allowed more than one earned run in any of his last seven starts and has allowed just five runs total over that span to go 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA since the end of June.

Zimmermanns numbers have been good all season, but lately he has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Meanwhile both of the Nationals pitching All-Stars, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, have seen their ERAs go above the 3.00 mark since the break.

Zimmermann has been the teams best starting pitcher for most of this season and at this point it is no stretch to call him an ace. He will likely be the first pitcher the team turns to if they reach the postseason, and if he continues his dominant pace, could finally get the attention and recognition he deserves.

Here is SIs full breakdown of the award.

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Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

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Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others