September 17, 2021

Cody Bellinger 1st Dodger to win NL MVP since Clayton Kershaw in 2014 (ESPN)

Cody Bellinger captured his first National League Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday, beating out defending champion Christian Yelich and World Series champion Anthony Rendon.

Bellinger was selected first on 19 of 30 ballots and second on 10 more. Runner-up Yelich was named first on 10 ballots and second on 18. Rendon was named first and second on one ballot each.

Bellinger, a .305/.406/.629 hitter with 47 home runs and 15 stolen bases, is the first Los Angeles Dodgers player to win the MVP since Clayton Kershaw in 2014, and the first Dodgers position player to do so since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

He teared up after hearing that he had won the award. “It’s what you dream of, man,” Bellinger said.

Bellinger and Yelich finished tied in FanGraphs wins above replacement with 7.8 apiece. Yelich posted slightly better offensive numbers, batting .329/.429/.671 with 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases, but Bellinger was the better defensive player, winning a Gold Glove in right field while also displaying Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base and center field.

Yelich also played in 26 fewer games, largely because of a fractured kneecap that put him on the shelf for the regular…

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