Enough talk about Christian Yelich and the Brewers 2020 season.
Yelich was ranked #9 on this year’s MLB Top 100 Right Now. Most people forget he was number two just last year, and has been in the Top 10 the last three years.
He might have been ranked ninth, but Yelich is arguably a Top Three player. It’s hard not to respect how Christian handled this past offseason. His candid interviews, his self-deprecating honesty about last year and commitment to always wanting to be the best. There is honestly way too much to be excited about when it comes to Yelich and the 2021 season.
Here are a few reasons to get hyped.
1. The early stories out of Spring Training have been consistent: The Brewers outfield got jacked during the off-season.
Avisail Garcia made the first obvious headlines by losing 36 pounds. He said he cut out sugar and salt, and worked with a dietitian. Garcia might have gained some speed and agility back, and also added some power back into his bat.
Lorenzo Cain is back and appears to be in great shape as well. After opting out a week into the shortened 2020 season, he says he has returned refreshed both spiritually and physically. The Brewers gain back a defensive powerhouse, a clubhouse leader and a player who came back to Milwaukee on the same day that Yelich was traded in 2018.
Cain spilled the beans that Yelich also bulked up during the offseason:
Yelich’s frame is deceiving. It doesn’t look like much has changed, but some overhead views definitely show he didn’t spend the Holidays just sitting around and watching True Crime documentaries like the rest of us.
2. The return closer to normalcy for Major League Baseball should also help bring Yelich back to routine and improve his season.
The league banned the use of in-game video at the start of the delayed 2020 season. It was announced in February this year that it would return. It was in reaction to the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, and they hoped it would prevent teams from cheating in the future. The decision threw a lot of good players off their in-game routine.
Fellow NL Central player Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs was also very vocal about the decision. He was very candid, going as far to say “it sucked”. Lots of players use the video for adjustments during the game to watch their swing. It adds a bit of an advantage for players to show where a ball was or contact point, but still not what you would consider “cheating”. It’s part of the player in-game process, not banging on a trash can.
With in-video back, along with fans, it will be a normal game day atmosphere for players like Yelich. The buzz of the crowd plays a bigger factor than initially thought and even limited fans will help Yelich.
3. Not to live in the past, but Christian Yelich is still owed another MVP award.
After winning the award in 2018, Yelich was well on his way to winning it a second straight year. He and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers were basically neck-and-neck the entire year, with Yelich starting to pull ahead.
Then, on September 10th, 2019, a ball went off his bat in an odd direction. That direction just happened to be his kneecap. After it was determined that he fractured it, the then 27-year-old’s season was done. He ended with a .329 batting average, 44 home runs, and 97 RBIs. A 1.100 ending OPS was pretty darn good too.
That year’s winner, Bellinger, ended with a .305 batting average 47 home runs, 95 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS. We will never know how the year would have ended for Christian. With almost an entire month left in the season, Yelich ended with a higher OPS, RBIs and three less home runs.
Freddie Freeman won the award in 2020 just behind Mookie Betts. All four players will be favorites again this year. There is no doubt that Yelich’s ultimate goal would be a World Series ring and to bring home a championship for the Brewers. But a second MVP in four years would be quite an accomplishment after a crazy 2020.
Brewers fans believe Yelich is owed an MVP award. Pretty sure Yelich believes that too.