Christian Yelich was awarded with the National League Most Valuable Player award after his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers. He received 29 out of 30 1st place votes. Who didn’t make Yelich their top pick for NL MVP?
Milwaukee Brewers superstar Christian Yelich earned his first NL MVP award yesterday, but he wasn’t a unanimous decision. One writer chose to give 2018 NL Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom his first place vote for NL MVP. Yelich came in second on the ballot in question.
Who was the writer?
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic/AZ Central sports was the one voter who made deGrom his top pick for NL MVP.
Has he made any statement about his vote?
As of writing this post? Piecoro hasn’t made a public statement on his choice for NL MVP. He must not want to end up like the San Diego writer who voted for Max Scherzer over deGrom for the NL Cy Young award.
Is there a case for deGrom over Yelich?
Kind of? Yelich managed a 7.6 WAR in 147 games played during the regular season. deGrom managed an 8.8 WAR in 32 starts.
Is deGrom able to have more of an impact on a season in 32 games than Yelich did in 147? If you believe WAR totals are the best way to measure a player’s overall contribution, then yes, there’s a case. However, if an MVP award should go to a player that played in significant games, performed well when it mattered most, and also had a fantastic season, then Yelich is the MVP.
Yelich won his MVP award by posting a .367/.449/.770 slash line with 25 homers and 67 RBIs in the second half of the season. Most of those games were in the thick of playoff race that required Game #163 for the Milwaukee Brewers to clinch the division title.
deGrom only threw 93 2/3 innings after the All-Star break, and none of those games were all that important for a team that finished 13 games out of first place. His ERA was slightly higher in the second half than in the first half, but almost every other metric improved. deGrom had a great second half of the season, but it came with virtually zero pressure outside of the normal stresses that professional athletes face.
Yelich is the MVP, but 29 out of 30 first place votes will always look odd in the history books. He deserved to be a unanimous pick for MVP, but he wasn’t. The good news was that Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez came in second place. This marks the second time in the 2018 season that Baez finished behind Yelich in the overall standings.