NEW YORK (CBSLA/AP) — Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich was a runaway winner for the National League Most Valuable Player award after helping the Brewers return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Yelich received 29 first-place votes and 415 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Thursday.
Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez was next with 250 points, followed by Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado with 203. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman finished fourth with 174, and the other first-place vote went to New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, the NL Cy Young Award winner, who finished fifth.
Acquired from the payroll-paring Miami Marlins about a month before spring training, the 26-year-old Yelich won his first NL batting title — and the first in Brewers history — with a .326 average. He set career highs with 36 homers and 110 RBIs and had a 1.000 OPS.
Yelich nearly became the NL’s first Triple Crown winner since Joe Medwick in 1937, finishing two homers shy of Arenado and one RBI back of Baez. Yelich was especially impressive in the second half, hitting .367 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs — including 11 homers in August and 10 in September.
Milwaukee swept Colorado in the Division Series then lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game League Championship Series, falling one win short of its first World Series appearance since 2002. Voting concluded at the end of the regular season.
Yelich gets a $100,000 bonus for winning, and the price of the 2022 team option in his contract increases by $1 million to $16 million.
Yelich made time out of his busy schedule on Wednesday to help KCBS/KCAL raise over a million dollars for the Woolsey Fire victims.
The Thousand Oaks native spoke to KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez and Sharon Tay about the fires that affected his hometown.
“You feel for the families. The people that lost everything. We’re fortunate that we made it out. Our house made it out fine but there is a lot of people who didn’t,” said Yelich. “Such a tight knit community. Everybody has each other’s back. You grew up with most of the people that were around and most of the people that were affected. You want to give back and help in any way you can. Tough time.”
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts won the American League Most Valuable Player award. Betts’ team won the World Series this year, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez were the other finalists.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)