He’s finally arrived! Reigning MVP Christian Yelich is on the Most Valuable Brewers list at... wait... this can’t be right... 8!? What happened!?
Yelich is still an MVB, but it comes after an extremely disappointing season. A year after hitting for a .329/.429/.671 slash line, Yeli only managed to hit .205/.356/.430 in the 60-game season. In terms of production, Yelich did hit 12 homers, drive in 22 runs and steal 4 bags.
All in all, it was easily a career-worst year for Yelich. In 2020, he had his worst ever batting average, on-base percentage, strikeout rate and wRC+ (the WAR was also a career low, but it seems unfair to weight that against his others in a short season). His slugging percentage was actually higher than his 2013-2015 seasons, but his BB% was a career-high.
Despite Yelich having an awful season, he still was one of the best players on the roster. He finished second on the team with home runs, first in stolen bases, and second in OPS and OPS+.
There were also some positives about Yelich’s season that show the 2020 season was a huge blip in an otherwise great career. The slugger was in the 99th percentile for exit velocity in the league and in the 98th percentile for hard hit%. He was also in the top 80th percentile in the league for expected SLG, expected wOBA and Barrel %.
The hope is that the season was a huge anomaly for Yelich, and I think it’s the safe bet. Other top players can bad seasons in 2020 and, based on history alone, Yelich has never been this ad and is still in his prime. A weird year led to weird results. We can all sit and hope we get to watch the amazing Yelich we witnessed in 2018 and 2019 return in 2021.