Brewers: Why Christian Yelich Can Reclaim the MVP Title

After a blow to the knee ended his season earlier than expected, Brewers 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich was robbed of the 2019 title, falling second to Los Angeles outfielder Cody Bellinger. Could 2020 be the year of redemption for Yelich?

It’s no secret that Christian Yelich’s 2019 season was even better than 2018 and he’s still going up from there. After acquiring him in January of 2018, a lot of Brewers fans weren’t so sure about him as the Crew traded away four top prospects in exchange for one player, who’s stats weren’t nearly what they are today. But once Yelich arrived in Milwaukee, he’s proved himself to be arguably the best player in baseball.

A two-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and a Gold Glove recipient, Christian Yelich has become a household name, and not just in Milwaukee. In 2019, he hit a personal record 44 home-runs and stole 30 bases. His “40/30” season was a milestone in baseball. Placing first in the NL in oWAR (7.3), BA (.329), OBP (.429), SLG (.671-also led all major leagues), OPS (1.100- also led MLB) to name a few, it was quite the surprise when Yelich didn’t win the 2019 MVP title.

Even Yelich himself knew that when he injured his knee, it would dramatically hurt his chances of winning. Yelich was proven right when the BBWAA selected Cody Bellinger as the NL MVP, even though Yelich was still leading the NL in nearly all categories despite his injury.

With Spring Training games beginning in a week, Brewers fans are excited to see Yelich back at the plate, crushing more records. He’s told many sources that he’s 100%, ready to go, which is very good news as some thought he wouldn’t be ready in time for spring training with his broken kneecap. Him bouncing back so quickly just proves how determined he is and that redemption is coming for Yelich, and 2020 is going to be an amazing season.

Projections

BaseballReference.com is projecting Christian Yelich to have another fantastic statistical year. Ranking a little lower in home-runs at 31 compared to his 44 this past season, and they predict Yelich will post a .306/.392/.570/.961 slash line with 31 homers, which in comparison to the 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger who’s projected to post a .283/.374/.565/.939 slash line with 36 homers, could very well make Yelich a contender for the 2020 NL MVP.

Steamer projections have Yelich hitting .305/.400/.568 with 36 homers, 22 stolen bases, and 100 RBIs.

New Competition

But, with former Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts being recently traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, there is even more competition for the MVP spot. Betts posted a .295/.391/.524/.915 slash line in 2019 and is projected to post similar numbers in ’20. Betts won the AL MVP in 2018, the same year as Yelich’s. It’ll be interesting this season to see how that plays out in the course of “who comes out on top” in terms of MVP-worthiness.

Because of the addition of Betts to the National League, and Yelich coming off a knee injury, there are a lot of people counting him out, that don’t believe he can come back stronger and play even better. As 2019 showed, Christian Yelich is at his best when people doubt him. He’s motivated, he’ll be protected in the lineup, and he’s healthy. At just 28 years old, Yelich is in the prime of his career, and he’s still getting better.

Next: Brewers Top 25 Prospects List: Nos. 6-10

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A lot of fans of baseball believe 2020 could be the year for the Dodgers to finally win a World Series after acquiring Betts and David Price. Brewers fans are slightly less confident that this could be their year, but they’re still confident in Yelich putting up big numbers. I firmly believe that this year is Christian Yelich’s year of redemption to claim the MVP title back.

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