The Baseball Writers Association of America announced both league’s Most Valuable Player Award winners on Thursday evening. In the National League, Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger took home the trophy over fellow finalists Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich (who won last year) and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Bellinger, 24, hit .305/.406/.629 (169 OPS+) with 47 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He posted those numbers while seeing time in right field (115 appearances), at first base (36), and even in center (25). Bellinger’s combination of hitting, defense (he was the NL Gold Glove winner in right field), and base-running resulted in nine Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculation. That total led all of Major League Baseball.
Bellinger was understandably emotional after he got the news.
Bellinger deserved the hardware regardless, but it’s worth noting Yelich’s candidacy took a hit late in the year when he fractured his kneecap on a foul ball. He missed Milwaukee’s final two-plus weeks of play. Rendon, meanwhile, heads into free agency with his highest individual finish in MVP balloting. He had previously finished fifth (in 2014) and sixth (in 2017).
A different L.A. outfielder, Mike Trout of the Angels, won MVP honors in the American League on Thursday.
Bellinger is the sixth Dodgers player to win the MVP Award since the franchise moved to Los Angeles. He joins Maury Wills (1962), Sandy Koufax (1963), Steve Garvey (1974), Kirk Gibson (1988), and teammate Clayton Kershaw (2014). That makes Bellinger the first Dodgers position player to earn the MVP since Gibson in ’88.
Bellinger received 19 of 30 first-place votes, with Yelich getting 10 others and Rendon earning one. Those three also split nearly all the 30 second-base places — save for a ballot that handed that slot to Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Click here to see the full balloting breakdown. Here’s the top five with their vote totals:
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers: (362 points)
Christian Yelich, Brewers: (317)
Anthony Rendon, Nationals: (242)
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks: (198)
Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves: (155)