Major League Baseball announced Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout won the 2019 Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the top offensive player in each league.
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger, who also had a great offensive season and was the team’s finalist, was beat out by Yelich for the National League honor.
Yelich also won the award in 2018 in addition to the NL MVP, and he followed that up with an even better offensive season. Although limited to 130 games due to injury, he batted .329/.429/.671 with 44 home runs, 100 runs scored and 97 RBI in 2019.
Yelich was in Houston before Game 2 of the World Series, where he was presented with the award by past winners Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, José Altuve and Aaron himself. Yelich spoke about how big of an honor it was to win despite missing time with an injury, via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com:
“I really am honored, appreciative of everybody who voted on it, deemed it worthy enough, even though I didn’t get to see it to the finish line,” said Yelich, who missed the latter half of September due to a fractured right kneecap. “But it’s an honor. It’s a tough way to go out, but for them to still recognize me, and thought it was enough, is really cool.”
Trout also missed the final weeks of the regular season due to injury and played in just 134 games. He too still put together a strong year, hitting .291/.438/.645 with 45 home runs, 110 runs scored and 104 RBI.
He is also now a two-time winner of the award, and although he wasn’t in Houston to accept it, he still expressed his gratitude on social media:
“I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famers and fans for this honor,” Trout, who was unable to fly to Houston for the ceremony, said in a statement. “This would not be possible without the support of my teammates, coaches, family and my wife, Jessica. I am humbled and thankful to win this award.”
The Hank Aaron Award was established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. Max Muncy was the Dodgers’ finalist in 2018, while Bellinger was before him in 2017 and Corey Seager in 2016.
The only Dodgers player to win the award was Matt Kemp in 2011.