Since being removed from purgatory with the Miami Marlins through a trade to the Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Yelich has seen his popularity and recognition multiple tenfold. Yelich, along with Cody Bellinger have been marketed this season as two of the game’s biggest stars.
There were some comparisons drawn last season when the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated the Brewers from the National League Championship Series. Both had their share of highlights during the seven games, with Bellinger earning NLCS MVP honors.
This season, Bellinger and Yelich have been touted as the leading NL MVP candidates. The Dodgers’ two-time All-Star appeared to be running away with the award before his regression was accompanied by Yelich going on a prolific stretch.
With the Brewers’ outfielder suffering a season-ending kneecap fracture last week, most anticipate Yelich will not repeat as MVP. Bellinger, who previously voiced his disappointment and offered well wishes upon learning of Yelich’s injury, has now lauded his consistency, via TMZ Sports:
“He’s probably the most consistent player in the game, for sure.”
In 277 games since joining the Brewers, Yelich has hit .327/.415/.631 with 63 doubles, 80 home runs, 207 RBI and 52 stolen bases. His 44 homers and 30 stolen bases this season both represented career highs.
Yelich still leads the Majors with a .671 slugging percentage and 1.100 on-base plus slugging. His home runs are good for third-most, entering play Monday.
After a down season by his standards, Bellinger returned in 2019 with a renewed focus and ability to again hit left-handed pitching. As a result he jumped out to lead all players in several offensive categories through much of the first half of the season.
Bellinger was named NL Player of the Month to start the 2019 campaign, and despite some drop off in August, is still batting .304/.407/.625 with 30 doubles, 44 home runs and 108 RBI this season.
Beyond his production at the plate, Bellinger has been invaluable for the Dodgers in the sense he’s played Gold-Glove caliber defense at multiple positions. He initially filled the void that was created in right field by trading Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds, then began to play first base more regularly, and now is patrolling center field.
Bellinger’s 7.2 WAR (FanGraphs) trails only Mike Trout (8.6), Yelich (7.7) and Alex Bregman (7.4). Unfortunately for Trout, he is poised to undergo season-ending foot surgery.