Finally, Cody Bellinger has his 2019 Most Valuable Player Award for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
?MVP. MVP. MVP.
Congratulations, @Cody_Bellinger, on being named National League MVP! pic.twitter.com/I71hbmcd2k
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 14, 2019
Indeed, during his age-23 season; the numbers on the back of his card will forever beautifully represent the season in which he won the award. Equally important, Bellinger is etched in Dodgers’ history in becoming the first MVP in the franchise since Clayton Kershaw (2014) and Kirk Gibson (1988). Now, Bellinger is the sixth Dodgers’ player to win the award while playing in Los Angeles.
Obviously, winning an MVP is the highest distinction and individual award that a player can earn. Simply, it’s the gold-standard; there is a certain level of legacy cemented once a player has won the award. Certainly, Bellinger should be looked at as one of the elite few in the game of baseball; and the greatness of his 2019 season can never be taken away from him.
Therefore, how did Bellinger win this award?
First, he ended the season with a .305/406/.629 slash line. This was good for a 1.035 OPS to go along with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 108 walks and 121 runs. Also, he stole 15 bases in 20 attempts.
Second, he finished with a bWAR of 9.0; which will go down as one of the highest bWAR seasons for a position player in Dodgers’ history. Third, he won the gold glove and displayed his defensive skills at three different positions regularly for the Dodgers in 2019.
Finally, if you had the opportunity to watch Bellinger on a nightly basis like many of us did; he looked like an MVP looks over the course of a full season. Whether it was with his bat, legs, glove, immense power, or a combination of all; Bellinger did something almost every night to help the Dodgers win a record amount of games in 2019.
It was a season unlike any I have seen, and possibly will ever see again.
Official Press Release
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player today in voting conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Bellinger earned 19 of the 30 first place votes and 10 second place votes, garnering 362 total points and finishing ahead of Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich (317 votes) and Washington’s Anthony Rendon (242 votes).
The 24-year-old becomes the eighth Dodger position player to win the award, joining Kirk Gibson (1988), Steve Garvey (1974), Maury Wills (1962), Roy Campanella (1951, 1953, 1955), Jackie Robinson (1949), Dolph Camilli (1941) and Jake Daubert (1913). He is the 12th player in the club history the win the award and the 14th time the Dodgers have rostered the MVP, which is tied for third most by a team with the Giants (14) and trailing only the Yankees (22) and Cardinals (20). The other Dodgers to receive the award are Clayton Kershaw (2014), Sandy Koufax (1963), Don Newcombe (1956) and Dazzy Vance (1924).
The Chandler High School (Az.) graduate becomes the first Arizona born player in Major League Baseball history to win the Most Valuable Player award and is the third Dodger player to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP, joining Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe. He is now the only player in franchise history to win the MVP, Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger in the same season.
Bellinger, in his third season with the Dodgers, appeared in a team-high 156 games, batting .305 (170-for-558) with 34 doubles, 47 homers and 115 RBI. He ranked among the NL leaders in batting average (.305, 9th), OBP (.406, 3rd), slugging percentage (.629, 2nd), OPS (1.035, 3rd), total bases (351, 1st), home runs (47, 3rd), runs (121, 2nd), RBI (115, 7th), walks (95, 6th) and extra-base hits (84, 2nd).
He concluded his regular season campaign recording career-highs in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks and stolen bases (15). He finished fourth in the Majors in homers and third in franchise history with 47 homers in a season, finishing behind only Shawn Green (49) and Adrian Beltre (48). His 26 homers at Dodger Stadium set a new franchise record for homers at home, while his 18 homers against left-handed pitchers were the most in the National League.
In the field, Bellinger appeared in 115 games in right field, 25 in center field and 36 at first base, recording a combined .991 fielding percentage with 19 combined assists. He led the National League with a .990 fielding percentage among right fielders, making two errors in 210 chances and was among the National League right field leaders in innings played (911.1, 7th), assists (10, 2nd), Ultimate Zone Rating (9.5, 2nd), range runs or RngR (5.6, 2nd), Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games (15.3, 1st) and Defensive Runs Saved (19, 1st). He finished tied for second in the Majors with San Diego’s Hunter Renfroe in defensive runs saved by an outfielder (22), finishing behind Washington’s Victor Robles (24).
Additionally, Bellinger claimed his first National League Player of the Week honors on April 8 after batting .429 (9-for-21) with three homers and 12 RBI from April 1-7. He added to the accolades at the end of the month with National League Player of the Month honors after slashing .431/.508/.890 with 14 homers and 37 RBI in 31 games. He set the MLB record for March/April (since 1900) with 97 total bases and had the most RBI by any player before May 1 since the RBI became a stat in 1920. His 14 home runs were also tied with Christian Yelich (2019), Alex Rodriguez (2007) and Albert Pujols (2006) for the most before May 1 in MLB history. He earned All-Star honors for the second time in his career (2017) and recorded his 100th career homer on August 2 against the Padres, becoming the fastest Dodger to reach the century mark (401 games).