For much of the entire 2019 season, the National League MVP race has been between Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, who won the award in 2018.
Both players got off to hot starts and maintained their excellence, making for a fun MVP battle that even garnered national attention in the form of commercials. Unfortunately, Yelich’s season was cut short as he suffered a fractured kneecap.
He is expected to miss at least two months, which won’t leave for an opportunity to return in the postseason even if the Brewers are able to reach and win the Wild Card Game.
While that may open the door for Bellinger to win the MVP Award if he finishes out the season strong, that was not on his mind upon learning of Yelich’s injury.
The two young stars have formed a friendship throughout the course of their Major League careers, particularly this season, so Bellinger wished Yelich well in his recovery, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“My first thought, honestly, was how (terrible) that is,” Bellinger said. “We’ve gotten pretty close over the years. I don’t know, man, it definitely (stinks). I don’t know how bad a fractured kneecap is beyond that (it ends Yelich’s season). I’m hoping he can rehab in the offseason and get back 100 percent for the 2020 season.”
Yelich finished the season hitting .329/.429/.671 with 44 home runs, 100 runs scored, 97 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 130 games. His 1.100 on-base plus slugging percentage is the highest mark in all of baseball.
Through 143 games, Bellinger is batting .305/.408/.633, to go along with 44 home runs, 109 runs scored, 106 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Bellinger’s MVP case is not only aided by the Dodgers having the best record in the NL, but also his defensive excellence and ability to play three different positions at an elite level.
If the Brewers manage to win the Wild Card game it could set up a rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series with the Dodgers in the Division Series. Although Yelich, of course, will not be on the field if that happens.