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Christian Yelich named MVP finalist, has chance to win back-to-back MVP awards

Will the reigning MVP keep his crown for a second-consecutive season despite going down early with an injury?

2019 BBWAA Awards Dinner

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is one of three finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.

At the end of each season, voters from the Baseball Writer’s Association fo America cast their ballot for the player they believe had the biggest impact for their team. Generally, they also include a bunch of odd personal caveats like, “If a team didn’t make the playoffs, the player cannot win the award.” Thankfully, Christian Yelich was one of the league’s top performers in every major category and was obviously going to be among the final candidates.

If Yelich wins his second-consecutive NL MVP, he’ll be the first player to accomplish that feat since Albert Pujols in the ‘08-’09 seasons. Miguel Cabrera won back-to-back MVPs in the AL in 2012-2013.

Yelich’s road to another MVP isn’t easy. Alongside him are Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon. While Yelich was first in the NL in average, on-base percentage, slugging, and tied with Bellinger for first in the NL in WAR at 7.8, he missed the end of the season after breaking his knee cap. Being out of the game while his team fights for a playoff spot could hurt his chances with some of the “old school” voters.

Bellinger didn’t lead a single category, but did have more homers, runs and RBI than Yelich, counting stats that have had significant importance to the voters in the past. Rendon finished first in the NL in RBI and had a higher average and OBP than Bellinger. Although he’s further behind in the remaining categories, he does play a more premium position than the two outfielders. That could also push the voters to favor him over Yeli or Belli; however, it has felt like the entire season has been the race for MVP between those two with a third candidate in their dust.

The winners of the NL and AL MVP awards will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 14.