Jorge Polanco
AP Images

Video: Jorge Polanco hits for the cycle

Leave a comment

Not a month into the new season, and we’ve already seen the first cycle of 2019. Shortstop Jorge Polanco completed the feat for the Twins on Friday, becoming the first franchise player to do so since Michael Cuddyer in 2009 and the first major-leaguer to hit for the cycle since Brock Holt completed one for the Red Sox during Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series.

Polanco started off with the most difficult part of a cycle — a triple — after getting a three-bagger off of the Phillies’ Nick Pivetta in the first inning. When he came up to bat again in the third inning, he roped a single to center field for his second hit of the night, but was left stranded on the bases after Pivetta made short work of the heart of the order. The Twins, meanwhile, trailed 5-2 after the Phillies’ explosive run in the first inning, and had only just gotten on the board with Max Kepler‘s two-run homer in the third.

Nevertheless, Polanco continued to charge toward his first career cycle, this time with a 349-foot home run off of Pivetta in the fifth inning. He pounced on a first-pitch, 90.6-m.p.h. fastball and sent it out to the right field corner, barely clearing the wall for his first long ball of the 2019 season.

The Phillies pulled Pivetta after five innings of four-run, four-strikeout ball, but Polanco still had something left in the tank for Pivetta’s replacement, lefty reliever Adam Morgan. With only a double left to collect, Polanco stepped into the batter’s box at the top of the seventh inning, worked a 1-1 count against Morgan, and bounced an 81.2-m.p.h. changeup down the third base line. The ball ricocheted into the left field corner, Andrew McCutchen ran to retrieve it, and Polanco was left standing on second base with the first complete cycle of the year.

The Twins currently trail the Phillies 10-4 in the bottom of the eighth.

Update: Polanco added to his total with a fifth base hit in the ninth inning. Per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, he’s the first known player to reach 11+ total bases without scoring (or driving in) multiple runs.

Cody Bellinger wins 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Associated of America. He received 19 of 30 first-place votes.

Bellinger, 24, was the NL Rookie of the Year two years ago and is now the MVP. In 2019, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 121 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. Among qualified position players in the NL, Bellinger and Christian Yelich tied in Wins Above Replacement at 7.8, according to FanGraphs. Bellinger’s strong year helped the Dodgers win a franchise record 106 games, though they were stopped short in the NLDS by the eventual world champion Nationals.

Bellinger is the first Dodger to win the award since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. He also joins Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Sandy Koufax, and Maury Wills to win the award since the team moved to Los Angeles. Bellinger is overall the 13th Dodger to be named the MVP. He is the 18th NL player to win both a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP award.

Yelich finished in second place and Anthony Rendon finished in third place. They were followed by Ketel Marte, Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, and Pete Alonso. Also receiving votes were Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, Jacob deGrom, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story, Jack Flaherty, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy, Stephen Strasburg, Eugenio Suárez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Kevin Pillar, and Max Scherzer.