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Milwaukee Brewers: Examining Christian Yelich’s 2018 NL MVP Case

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a tripple in the 7th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a tripple in the 7th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has placed himself firmly in the discussion for the National League MVP this season. What is his case for winning over the other candidates?

Winning the title of Most Valuable Player in your league is the highest honor that can be awarded to a player at season’s end. It’s an award for a truly outstanding season. And that’s exactly the kind of season that Christian Yelich is having for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Christian Yelich By The Numbers

Through September 5th, Yelich owns a .316/.380/.556 slash line with 96 runs scored, 29 doubles, 27 home runs, 85 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases.

In terms of where he ranks in the National League, Christian Yelich is Top 5 or Top 10 in nearly every offensive category. Here’s where he currently sits.

  • Runs scored: 2nd (96)
  • Hits: T-4th (158)
  • Home Runs: T-10th (27)
  • RBIs: T-8th (85)
  • Batting Average: 2nd (.316)
  • On-Base Percentage: 9th (.380)
  • Slugging Percentage: 4th (.556)
  • OPS: 3rd (.936)

Yelich has been going back and forth with Scooter Gennett of the Reds for the best batting average in the league for the past few weeks. His home run binge has placed him amongst league leaders and his all around great offensive production is the leading reason he’s in the MVP discussion.

Who Are The Other Candidates?

The consensus top five candidates for the NL MVP are Yelich, Javier Baez of the Cubs, Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, Freddie Freeman of the Braves, and Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks.

All of these other candidates are around the top 10 in these offensive categories as well. By simply looking at the numbers, MVP voters will be splitting hairs when they try to make their decision. But there are other ways for a player to separate themselves from the pack.

How Christian Yelich Can Separate Himself

The name of the award says it all. When searching for the most valuable player, you have to consider the value that player brings to their team. Making the playoffs is an easy way to prove to voters that the value that player brings is enough to put their team into October. Winning the division is a plus, but a Wild Card berth helps as well.

Last year, Giancarlo Stanton won the award despite being on the Marlins, who did not make the playoffs. But that was mostly due to his 59 home runs. Neither Christian Yelich nor any of the other candidates are putting up ridiculous enough numbers to win the award despite missing the playoffs.

By carrying the Milwaukee Brewers to a division title, Christian Yelich can all but lock up the award. Given their current status being four games behind the Cubs in the division, coming back and winning the division on the Yelich’s back should be enough to give him the MVP award.

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All of the other candidates are on teams that are playoff contenders. They have just as much of a chance to separate themselves from the pack. The NL West is a close race that holds two MVP candidates in Arenado and Goldschmidt. The NL Central has Yelich and Baez. And the NL East has Freddie Freeman.

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