Cody Bellinger emerged as one of the league’s brightest stars in 2019 and has now been named as one of the three finalists for the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Bellinger, 24, had a season for the ages. He posted a terrific .305 batting average, 1.035 on-base plus slugging percentage, and 162 wRC+. He also chipped in a fantastic 7.8 WAR for the NL West champion Dodgers.
2019 NL MVP
Top 3 (alphabetically)
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Christian Yelich, Brewers
Winner announced Nov. 14. Voting concluded before postseason
— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 5, 2019
Along with Bellinger, Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Christian Yelich and Washington Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon have been named as finalists for the award.
The NL MVP voting should come down to the wire with the three men’s outputs being within hairs of each other.
Bellinger could be the MVP of the National League depending on how much the voters weight his first half — should be even with his second half — and how much they value defense. Bellinger led all non-catchers in defensive runs saved (DRS) in 2019 with 26 total. He was phenomenal playing right field, center field, and first base. He was so good that he just recently was named the winner of the NL Gold Glove in right field. Bellinger definitely holds his own in comparison to the field and his fellow finalists. He has a real shot at winning this thing.
Christian Yelich almost seemed to be the surefire winner of the award until he broke his kneecap and missed a month’s worth of games. Prior to the injury, Yelich posted a terrific slash line of .329/.429/.671 — better marks than Bellinger. Yelich also chipped in 44 homers, 30 stolen bases, and drove in 97 runs. Yelich, unlike Bellinger, did not grade out as a good defender in 2019, posting -1 DRS. Yelich and Bellinger are about neck and neck it seems — both with 7.8 WAR.
Rendon made a late season push for the MVP award and demonstrated his star-level talent in the World Series, leading the Washington Nationals to their first World Series in franchise history. They say the MVP is a regular season award, so if the voters stick to it, there should not be any recency bias in play. Rendon posted a .312/.412/.598 line with a 154 wRC+ and 7.0 WAR. While he was excellent, his regular season play simply did not match up to Yelich’s or Bellinger’s. He will get votes, but it likely will not be enough to topple the outfielders.
All award winners will be announced next week: MVP, Cy Young and More; Important Upcoming Awards Dates