Fallen MVPs are starting to show signs of life. Christian Yelich (Milwaukee) and Cody Bellinger (Chicago Cubs) have rebounded this season after years of struggle.카지노사이트
Yelich and Bellinger were two of the best players in the major leagues just a few years ago. Yelich won the National League MVP in 2018 and 2019, when Bellinger was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two were even in contention for MVP that year before Yelich was sidelined with a knee injury after being hit by a foul ball late in the 2019 season.
But the duo’s struggles began in 2020. That year, when the league opened late in July due to COVID-19, Yelich batted .205 with a .785 OPS in 58 games. Bellinger also struggled, batting .235 with a .788 OPS. The previous season, Yelich hit .329 with a 1.100 OPS and Bellinger hit .305 with a 1.035 OPS.
They haven’t regained their form since. After hitting 44 homers in 2019, Jelich only hit a combined 35 over the next three seasons until last year. Bellinger, who won the 2019 MVP with 47 homers, had a three-year home run total of just 41.
Yelich signed a massive nine-year, $215 million extension for the 2020 season. Shortly thereafter, he struggled mightily. It was mocked as another ‘bust’ that would go down in MLB history. Bellinger, who was supposed to be the “present and future” of the Dodgers, was released after last season following his continued struggles.
This season has been different. Through 16 games, Yelich has an OPS of 0.829 and Bellinger has an OPS of 0.893. Yelich has a wRC+ of 126 and Bellinger has a wRC+ of 138, both relative to 100. That’s still a far cry from his MVP days, but it’s a significant rebound from the last three years, when he struggled.
Both men have tweaked their batting strokes to help their resurgence. Since last year, Jelicic has ditched the leg kick in favour of a “toe tap” strike, in which he only lifts his heel and steps on it. Bellinger has also lowered his trademark upright batting stance. He leans slightly towards the pitcher and swings more fluidly.
He’s also coming off an injury. In addition to his foul-ball injury in 2019, Jelich had nagging back problems. Bellinger suffered a fractured left leg and ribs in 2021, as well as a torn left hamstring.
It’s especially encouraging that he’s been getting better as the season has gone on. In his last 15 games, Yelich has an OPS of 0.988 and Bellinger has an OPS of 1.264. The two hit back-to-back home runs today against Cincinnati and Boston, respectively.
With the win, Yelich’s Milwaukee took sole possession of first place in the National League Central by one game over Cincinnati. The Brewers will need Yelich’s performance to stay in contention for a postseason berth. Bellinger’s Cubs have slipped to third place, seven games behind Milwaukee. But Bellinger’s recent performance has been scary. According to MLB.com, Bellinger could be a “blue chip” player on the trade market this offseason.