Milwaukee Brewers: The All-Star Case for Christian Yelich
By Dan Larsen
No one on the Milwaukee Brewers has a stronger case to make it to the MLB All-Star game than Christian Yelich.
Though the Milwaukee Brewers have several all-star game worthy candidates at the moment, no one has a stronger case to make it there than Yelich.
Yelich’s stats, particularly on the offensive end, are basically off-the-starts so far this season. He either leads or is in the top five of nearly every major offensive category in the league at the moment.
His batting average through 59 games so far (.340) sits third in Major League Baseball. Only Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers (.355) and Austin Meadows of the Tampa Bay Rays (.346) have a higher batting average at the moment.
His on-base percentage (.446) only trails Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (.469) and Bellinger (.449).
Yelich is tied for third in the league in Runs Scored (50), is fifth in Runs Batted In (52), tied for fifth in Stolen Bases (14), and is tied for second in Extra Base Hits (36).
Yelich leads the majors in slugging percentage (.745), On-Base Plus Slugging (1.191), Home Runs (24), OPS+ (205), and Runs Created (74). He’s also tied for first in the advanced stats of Adjusted Batting Runs (34) and Adjusted Batting Wins (3.2) with Bellinger.
His offensive WAR is 3.7. Only Trout, 4.1, has a higher offensive WAR than him.
Yelich has been hitting at a level rarely seen in Major League Baseball. His overall batting line, particularly in batting average and slugging percentage, is near the same level that Barry Bonds was hitting at in his record-shattering seasons in the early 2000’s, particularly 2003.
Much of his success so far this year has come from the absurd power numbers he’s posting in the hitter friendly confines of Miller Park. In his 28 home appearances so far this season, he’s posting video game like numbers. He’s hitting .438 there, has hit 19 of his 24 home runs there, and has a hardly believable OPS of 1.606 at Miller Park!
He’s still been above the league average on the road though. His batting average in his 31 away games is .259, and his OPS currently sits at a respectable .844 as well.
Yelich has a legitimate shot at a triple crown (leading his respective league in Batting Average, Home Runs, and RBIS), something he missed by just two home runs the season prior, and has only been done once in MLB since 1967 (Miguel Cabrera in 2012). It hasn’t been done by an National League player since 1937 (Joe Medwick).
He’s also on pace to come close to a feat that’s never been done in MLB history.
As these stats show, Yelich is having an absolutely historic run on the offensive end. He’s already a virtual lock to make it to the all-star game given these stats.
Yelich, however, is not just contributing value on the offensive end. His defense has been solid too.
His defensive WAR on baseball reference sits at a 0.4. He’s been five runs above average in Total Zone Fielding Above Average (Rtz). He also has five defensive runs saved (DRS) on FanGraphs, and grades out near or above average in every other advanced fielding metric.
Overall, Christian Yelich is third among position players in WAR (4.1), only behind Trout (4.6) and Bellinger (5.6), and is third on FanGraphs as well (4.2 compared to Trout and Bellinger who sit at a 4.5).
He has been, by virtually every metric, one of the three best position players in Major League Baseball so far. Yelich is what’s currently lifting the Brewers from a just above .500 wild card contender to being in the conversation as the best team in the National League. Between his historic offensive performance, as well as his above average defense, Yelich’s production is nearly unmatched.
Given all of this, then, he has a flawless case to make to make the all-star game.