Brewers: Christian Yelich Is Finally Returning To Form At Perfect Time
By Leo Koenig
There have been more bad days than good days for Brewers MVP outfielder Christian Yelich in 2021, but lately the tide seems to be changing for the better.
He battled nagging back injuries and had to miss two weeks after contracting COVID, on top of the pressure and expectations that come with being the highest paid player on the team and face of the franchise.
In Tuesday’s 10-0 blowout win against the Phillies, Yelich was 3-5 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Over his last 15 games, Yelich is hitting .321. This is a vast improvement from his July performance, where he hit just .209 for the month.
After a tough season so far, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich appears to finally be rounding into his old, productive self.
Despite the frustrating stretches this season where Yelich just couldn’t seem to time his swings effectively and get ahead in counts, he has kept a positive attitude. After his two home run and six RBI performance on August 21 against Washington, Yelich said this postgame:
"“Obviously it hasn’t been the greatest year performance-wise for myself but the story’s not written yet. We have a long way to go.”"
With this quote, Yelich is expressing the fact that baseball is a true team sport, and that if he can contribute at a high level for the rest of September and October, then most people will forget that most of 2021 was a struggle for him.
The Brewers have a real shot at a deep playoff run, and they have been able to find consistent success despite disappointing seasons from not only Christian Yelich but other hitters such as Keston Hiura and Jackie Bradley Jr. as well. In other words, legacies are defined in September and October above all, and team success is the priority.
Yelich is starting to hit the ball hard again too, which is a sign that his home run production may be on its way back as well. His fly ball percentage for the season is 18%, down significantly from its peak of 28% in 2019, a season where Yelich hit 44 longballs. If Yelich can start to combine his improved exit velocity with better launch angles for the final stretch of the season, the Brewers’ lineup will strike fear in the opponents eyes even more than it already will.
Even if Yelich doesn’t quite regain his full MVP form in 2021, Brewers fans should take a step back from individual analysis and instead look at this season from a holistic perspective. They are currently 30 games over .500 at 85-55. The franchise record is 31 games over .500, which happened in 1982, the year the Brewers made the World Series.
The NL Central is all but wrapped up, and they have shown they can compete with any team in baseball with their stellar pitching staff and knack for timely, clutch hitting. Christian Yelich gaining control and confidence at the plate is just one piece to the puzzle.