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Christian Yelich’s season-ending injury makes Cody Bellinger likely MVP

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Maybe Cody Bellinger was already going to win the MVP Award before Christian Yelich went down to a season-ending injury last night. I think he had a slight lead, if for no other reason than he’s (a) the best player on the best team; and (b) there is still some tendency for voters to not want to hand out the hardware to the same guy two years in a row.

But it was probably going to be a close vote. Closer than we thought even a week or two ago if the Brewers’ recent surge had pushed them past the Cubs and into the postseason, but still close even if the Brewers fell short.

Let’s see how they stacked up before Yelich went out:

  • Yelich: .329/.429/.671 (OPS+ 178), 44 homers, 97 RBI, 30 stolen bases, 328 total bases, bWAR 7.1, .  He was leading the league in on-base percentage, slugging, OPS (obviously) and OPS+.
  • Bellinger: .306/.410/.639 (OPS+ 172), 44 homers, 106 RBI, 11, stolen bases, 322 total bases, bWAR 8.3. He leads the NL in WAR, but in no other statistical categories.

Not that they were the only two candidates. Anthony Rendon should get some consideration from voters. So too will Ketel Marte who has, quietly, due to the lack of exposure the Diamondbacks get, I suspect, had a monster season. Both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Josh Donaldson are also high on various leaderboards for the second-best-in-the-NL Atlanta Braves, with Acuña still having a shot at the 40/40 club, which tends to excite voters even if he’s a bit farther down the list of more substantive measures.

But with nods of respect to those guys, I really do think the race was going to come down to Bellinger vs. Yelich. Now that Yelich is down, and now that some of his statistical edges will be dulled, it’s likely Bellinger’s award.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.