For the second year in a row, Christian Yelich has been named as the National League’s winner of the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best offensive player in each league. Mike Trout was the honoree on the Junior Circuit.
After taking his game to an MVP level during his first season in the Cream City in 2018, Yelich somehow managed to get even better at the plate this season. In 580 plate appearances, Yelich batted .329/.429/.671, leading the National League in both OPS (1.100) and wRC+ (174). Both totals were franchise records for Milwaukee, too. Christian won his second consecutive batting title and actually led the league in OBP and slugging. Despite missing the final two weeks of the year after breaking his kneecap on a foul ball, Yelich finished fourth in the NL home runs (44), third in stolen bases (30), and first in both Baserunning Runs (8.5) and fWAR (7.8 — tied with Cody Bellinger).
Yelich: "Hank Aaron is such an important person in the history of baseball and the city of Milwaukee. To receive this award is an enormous honor and I look forward to sharing this excitement with my family and our great fans.”— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 23, 2019
Last year, winning the Hank Aaron Award was a precursor to Yelich taking home Most Valuable Player honors in the National League. We’ll have to wait and see if that will be the case again this year. In his two years suiting up for the Menomonee Valley Nine, Yelich now owns a .327/.415/.631 slash line with 80 home runs and 52 steals in 277 games.
Trout is also a previous Hank Aaron Award winner, having taken home the honor in 2014. This year he hit .291/.438/.635 with 45 home runs in 600 plate appearances to lead all of baseball with a 180 wRC+.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs