Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich will not be taking home his back-to-back MVP awards. Instead, the award will go to Los Angeles Dodger Cody Bellinger.
The outcome might disappoint some fans, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. It seemed as though Yeli and Belli were racing to win the MVP award against each other since the start of the season. However, it’s hard to imagine the voting being close if Christian Yelich doesn’t get injured to end the season.
After breaking his knee cap against the Miami Marlins, Yelich ended the season with just 130 games, 26 less than Bellinger. Despite that, Yeli still led the National League in the three major slash categories: average, on-base percentage and slugging. Bellinger led the league in total bases and intentional walks.
The biggest difference between the two is actually in their defense. Bellinger split time between right field, center field and first base, all while scoring substantially higher in defensive metrics like defensive runs saved than Yelich.
The winner of the MVP award is determined by Baseball Writers Association of America voters. Eligible voters cast their ballots at the end of the season, before the playoffs. As we mentioned before, they tend to include both the numbers and subjective reasons for their voting. Yelich’s injury, not being on a division winning team and only playing one defensive position likely limited him compared to Bellinger.
Yelich received 10 first place votes (including mine) to Bellinger's 19. Rendon got the other.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 14, 2019
Full results: pic.twitter.com/p5aaQsm0zb
Bellinger is the first Dodgers position player to win an MVP in more than 30 years. Kirk Gibson was the last to do it in 1988.
Based on all reports, Yelich is healing nicely from his broken knee cap. Guess he’ll just have to come back and win MVP awards in two out of three years.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.