When the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Christian Yelich from the Marlins back in January, the idea was that his numbers would improve playing in a hitters park. What has happened this year is beyond expectations.
The stretch that Christian Yelich has been on for the past couple weeks has been nothing short of incredible. Over the last 24 games, Yelich has a .427/.459/.748 slash line with a 1.206 OPS and six home runs.
His defense has been great, and his baserunning ability is far superior to everyone else. But his improved offense has been the part of his game that’s putting him back in the MVP conversation. In 2016, Yelich received some MVP votes and finished 19th in the balloting.
At the plate, Yelich is having the best season of his career, and is on pace to set career high in a number of categories. He already has 17 home runs this season with two months to go. Last year, Yelich only hit 18 and his career high came in 2016 with 21. His .321 batting average leads the league and is the highest of his career.
Yelich is also on pace for his best career OBP, Slugging, OPS, and stolen bases. The move to Miller Park has improved Yelich’s stats and has put him in position to win an MVP award.
Yelich vs. Other MVP Candidates
The frontrunner for the NL MVP for most of the season has been Freddie Freeman of the Braves. Another serious contender is Nolan Arenado of the Rockies. Both have had great seasons and Yelich is right there with them in most categories
Yelich: .321/.384/.537, 77 Runs, 17 HR, 59 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, 144 OPS+
Freeman: .316/.398/.527, 66 Runs, 18 HR, 69 RBIs, 7 stolen bases, 152 OPS+
Arenado: .305/.387/.586, 72 Runs, 28 HR, 80 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, 143 OPS+
No one is running away with the MVP race quite yet, but Yelich is absolutely in the discussion as we head down the final stretch of the season. He’s better than Freeman in terms of batting average, slugging, runs scored, and stolen bases, and is right there with him for home runs.
Yelich beats Arenado in average, runs, and stolen bases. They’re right next to each other in on-base percentage
Yelich has turned this hot stretch into the best statistical season of his career and has pushed himself into the center of the MVP conversation. He’s become the centerpiece of the Milwaukee Brewers offense, and being the key reason a team makes it into the playoffs only boosts his MVP stock.
If the Rockies and/or Braves end up missing the playoffs, that’s going to seriously damage Arenado’s and/or Freeman’s chances to win the award. That will leave Christian Yelich as one of the top performing position players from the NL that’s in the playoffs.
The 26 year old Yelich is only getting better, and this is the first of many years that he’s going to be having an MVP type season in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform.