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Milwaukee Brewers: Is Christian Yelich an MVP candidate?

Matthew Dewoskin
MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during Photo Day at the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Complex on February 22, 2018 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during Photo Day at the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Complex on February 22, 2018 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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Christian Yelich came to the Milwaukee Brewers with large expectations, but is he an MVP candidate?

The Milwaukee Brewers surrendered several top prospects to get Christian Yelich, including a pair of hyped outfield prospects. Expectations were certainly raised after the trade was completed, but is it too soon to expect MVP-level production from Yelich?

Where will Yelich hit in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup?

If MLB.com is to be believed, Yelich will lead off more often than not. The last time a player who hit lead off won a National League MVP award was Jimmy Rollins in 2007. He had to go 30/40 with 139 runs scored and a .875 OPS.

Yelich hit 100 runs scored last year, but his career high in homers is 21. His career high in steals is also 21. His career high OPS is .859. Yelich would need career highs in a lot of categories to even get consideration for an MVP award.

How much will Miller Park help Yelich?

That’s exactly what everyone wants to find out over a full season.

Yelich wasn’t great in Marlins Park. He posted a .265/.352/.391 slash line in Miami, and a .299/.385/.484 slash line on the road. He only has 52 at-bats in Miller Park, and owns a .686 OPS there. That’s going to change.

Miller Park is a known hitters park that has provided a boost to left-handed hitters in recent years. Adam Lind, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Travis Shaw, and Eric Thames all got a boost in power from playing half their games in Miller Park. Yelich could get a similar boost after spending seasons in the cavernous Marlins Park.

Will Yelich run enough in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell likes to run. The Milwaukee Brewers have attempted 406 stolen bases in the last two seasons. Yelich owns a nice .369 on-base percentage for his career, and should get ample opportunities to run. He should crack 30 stolen bases easily with Counsell at the helm.

Next: Should the Brewers deal a first baseman to the Yankees?

Yelich has the athleticism, on-base skills, and power to help the Milwaukee Brewers in several ways. He’s clearly not an early favorite for the National League MVP award, but he could compile his way to a top-five finish. If the Brewers earn a Wild Card berth in 2018, Yelich will be a large part of the reason why. The Brewers success could result in Yelich picking up more than a few MVP votes when it’s all said and done.

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