Like most anticipated, the 2019 National League MVP race ultimately boiled down to Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger and Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich. Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had a strong season, but finished a distant third in voting.
Bellinger and Yelich seemingly enjoyed a bit of healthy gamesmanship as each had their share of moments in the spotlight with one highlight after another. They were intertwined back in April, when Bellinger robbed Yelich of a home run and followed it up by hitting a go-ahead blast off Josh Hader.
Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate for the Brewers when Bellinger pulled Hader’s pitch over the wall in right field. The season was Grandal’s first — and only — in Milwaukee after he spent four years with the Dodgers.
Bellinger was in big league camp during Spring Training for some of that time, then teammates with Grandal after joining the Dodgers for his MLB debut early in the 2017 season. “I always knew that Belli had the potential to be best player in the league,” Grandal said from the Winter Meetings.
He was among a group of players speaking in a panel after the announcement of the first ever All-MLB First and Second Teams. Bellinger was voted to the First Team, while Grandal was selected to the Second Team.
“I mean, when you think about defense, he can run, he can hit for power, he can hit for average. This guy is unbelievable, great arm,” Grandal continued about his former teammate. “And then, I started playing with Yelich, and he started doing the same things that I can only look at Mike Moustakas and laugh.
“Obviously, we know Trout is going to be at the top of the list. But when you are talking about those two, I think they’re going to be battling for the No. 1 spot at some point. It’s going to be just them two, and it’s going to be for a long time.”
Although the MVP race with Bellinger appeared to weigh on Bellinger at times, he denied that being the case and maintained he enjoyed the competition. While the two young stars were pitted against one another on the field, they’ve developed a budding friendship off it.
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