September is looming ever closer, which for baseball, means one last month where every game counts. As the last month of regular season baseball approaches, the race for National League Most Valuable Player is getting even tighter.
The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (.320/.418/1.091 with 42 home runs) and Brewer’s Christian Yelich (.333/.424/1.117 with 41 home runs) have lead the race, neck-and-neck all season without any other challenging opponents. Recently, however, a few players have quietly gained some ground on Bellinger and Yelich. Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. (.296/.377/.918 with 36 home runs) is closing in and is currently sitting at third place in the NL MVP voting. Following closely behind Acuña is Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, who is slashing a solid .304/.396/.967 with 33 home runs. Fifth in the NL MVP voting is Nationals’ Anthony Rendon (.323/.402/.853 with 27 home runs). Rendon is the only candidate in the top five who did not start in the 2019 MLB All Star Game, and many think he has been overlooked. Trailing behind the top 5 candidates are Pete Alonso, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Bell, Nolan Arenado, and Ketel Marte.
While the race is getting tighter, it appears that the NL MVP award will most likely go to Cody Bellinger or Christian Yelich. The question is, with how well these players are performing, which one is the best national league player of the 2019 season? Following is a breakdown of these two players, their statistics, and any other influences on the MVP voting.
Cody Bellinger is currently in his third major league season and his third with the Dodgers. In 2017, Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year award. He is currently batting .320/.418/1.091 and he is tied for the MLB lead in home runs with 42. Bellinger made an appearance in this year’s All Star game as a starter and won Player of the Month in April. He also has the bonus of playing for the Dodgers, who currently have the best record in the MLB. Playing for a strong team gets Bellinger lots of attention, making him a likely MVP candidate.
Christian Yelich is in his seventh major league season and already has the 2018 NL MVP award under his belt. Yelich is hitting for a solid .333/.424/1.117 with 41 home runs. Yelich also played in the 2019 All Star Game as a starter, playing in the outfield with Cody Bellinger and Ronald Acuña Jr., the other top three MVP candidates. Yelich has seven years of major league experience, but playing for the Brewers, Yelich needs to work harder for attention, since the Brewers and in a close race for their division with the Cubs and the Cardinals.
With how well these two players are performing, it is likely too early to accurately predict who will win the 2019 NL MVP award. Christian Yelich has better statistics than Cody Bellinger by a small margin, as well as being backed by his previous MVP award. However, Cody Bellinger has the benefit of playing for the Dodgers, which I believe makes him a more likely candidate. Bellinger has consistently prevailed on top in the MVP voting, and if he continues to play how he has been in September, it is likely that the award will go to him.
Ian D’Andrea on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/idsportsphoto/28821183158