26 Aug

Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger named NL MVP

first_imgAfter his Rookie of the Year season in 2017, Bellinger took a step back in 2018, struggling particularly against left-handers in the second half, and he found himself platooned over the final months of the season, including the Dodgers’ World Series games against the Boston Red Sox.“It was a very humbling experience, for personal reasons, and I knew that wasn’t the player I wanted to be,” Bellinger said Thursday. “I just needed to find a way to be more consistent with myself. Hitting coaches Brownie (Brant Brown) and (Robert) Van Scoyoc really locked it down for me. When I was going through some things, we’d have great conversations. So there was help around me. It wasn’t just myself.”Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said it was evident “from the moment the 2018 season ended, he was a man on a mission to better understand his swing and to become a more complete hitter. The results of that work are being rewarded in the ultimate way.”Bellinger reaped that MVP reward despite being outperformed offensively by Yelich in nearly every category. Yelich finished first in the NL in batting average (.329, tied with Ketel Marte), on-base percentage (.429), slugging percentage (an MLB-best .671) and OPS (1.100, also the best in MLB). All of those numbers (plus his 44 home runs) were improvements over his 2018 MVP numbers.But Yelich suffered his season-ending knee injury on Sept. 10, limiting him to 130 games (while Bellinger appeared in 156 of the Dodgers’ 162 games). In his absence, the Brewers won 13 of their final 18 games, surging to a playoff spot in the National League.“We’re actually pretty good buddies right now,” Bellinger said of following Yelich’s season and the ‘Belli vs. Yeli’ MVP debate. “Without him having this good of a year – I think he pushed me to be a better player. He’s an unbelievable player but he’s honestly a better dude.”Bellinger was a better overall player in 2019. He led the majors in WAR (9.0 to Yelich’s 7.1) thanks to his elite defense (he won the NL Gold Glove for right field) and versatility, assets that no doubt caught voters’ attention.Related Articles The 24-year-old Bellinger is the sixth Dodger to win the NL MVP award since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, joining Maury Wills (1962), Sandy Koufax (1963), Steve Garvey (1974), Kirk Gibson (1988) and Clayton Kershaw (2014) and the 13th overall. He is only the third Dodger to win both a Rookie of the Year award and MVP during his career, joining Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe.He is just the fourth player in MLB history to win a Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove and MVP all before age 25, joining Johnny Bench, Fred Lynn and Dustin Pedroia.When he heard the news, Bellinger was surrounded by his family and teared up as he received hugs from everyone including his father, former major-leaguer Clay Bellinger.“I honestly hadn’t cried in a long time,” Bellinger said later. “I think the last time was a few years ago when my dog died. That being said, I’ve never seen my dad show emotion either. So when I saw that, that really hit me right there.“It’s just a dream come true, man.” “I definitely think that helped,” Bellinger said. “I don’t know exactly what goes into the vote. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to show off what I could do out there this year.”Bellinger made his strongest MVP case in April and May. He was batting over .400 (.404) as late as May 21 and finished May batting .379 with 20 home runs and a 1.213 OPS.For the season, Bellinger added a Silver Slugger award to his Gold Glove by finishing with career-highs in nearly every offensive category – home runs (47, third in the NL), RBIs (115), an NL-leading 351 total bases, batting average (.305), on-base percentage (.406), slugging percentage (.629) and OPS (1.035, behind only Yelich and the Angels’ Mike Trout).He is the first Dodger to win a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and the MVP award in the same season.“I had a ton of fun watching him this year,” Kershaw said of Bellinger. “It’s very well-deserved. What everyone says is true – great talent, great athlete, all that stuff. … But, man, he’s just a great baseball player and there is nothing else to say.”Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy (one eighth, one 10th) and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (one eighth) also received down-ballot votes.The MVP votes, cast prior to the postseason, came from two writers representing each of the 15 National League cities. They are tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season The Cody Bellinger archiveDodgers’ Cody Bellinger wins Silver Slugger award for outstanding 2019 seasonCody Bellinger wins first career Gold Glove AwardDodgers’ Cody Bellinger feels bad for MVP rival Christian Yelich after season-ending injuryCody Bellinger, Mike Trout setting pace one-third of the way into 2019 MLB seasonWhicker: Cody Bellinger’s spring offensive might be good for all seasons Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Reduced to a platoon player late in the 2018 season and even benched at the start of World Series games, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger called that a “wake-up call” that fueled his offseason last winter.The result was a red-hot start to the 2019 season and an MVP award.Bellinger was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday afternoon in just his third big-league season, edging 2018 winner Christian Yelich, who missed the final 18 games of the season with a fractured kneecap. Bellinger received 19 first-place votes, Yelich 10 and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon one. Bellinger finished with 362 points in the weighted voting system, 45 more than Yelich.“It’s absolutely incredible,” Bellinger said after getting the news. “It’s what you dream of, for sure.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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