NL MVP race heats up with these four players making their case

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers stand at first base in the fifth inning at Miller Park on April 19, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers stand at first base in the fifth inning at Miller Park on April 19, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Brewers: Behind Christian Yelich's Surge
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2019 NL MVP Race

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

Being in the MVP discussion is nothing new to Christian Yelich, who took home the hardware in 2018 on the heels of an outstanding season. Breaking out in his first season in Milwaukee, Yelich hit .326/.402/.598 while crushing 36 HR. His second half that year was one for the ages, as he hit 25 of his 36 homers while batting .367 and posting a ridiculous 1.219 OPS. His white-hot stretch to end the season locked up his first MVP award, and deservingly so.

2019 has been much of the same for Yelich, who has accumulated statistics eerily similar to his MVP campaign, albeit while displaying more power. He’s slashing .323/.418/.665, along with 43 homers and 93 RBI. He’s maintained an excellent walk rate of 13.0% and has increased his Hard% to 50.1%. Perhaps the most significant gains Yelich has made lie in his continued development as a power hitter. The wiry outfielder has leaned into the aspects of the game that are conducive to a power hitter in the home run-flying 2019 season. Compared to 2018, Yelich has further increased his FB% by a league-leading 12.5% and has pulled the ball more this year. On line drives and fly balls hit to his pull side, Yelich has posted an outrageous 2.059. Discovering the dormant slugger within himself last year, Yelich has fully unleashed his power stroke in 2019.

His newfound power hasn’t displaced the athletic, speed-based profile that originally made him a top prospect in the Miami Marlins system, as Yelich has stolen a career-high 26 bases in 2019. As crazy as it sounds, Christian Yelich has been even better this year than he was in 2018 and has another MVP award set in his sights.