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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.

Mattingly: Marlins sidelined by virus are ‘feeling great’

Marlins COVID-19 tests
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Maimi Marlins players sidelined by COVID-19 are all asymptomatic, and some have applied for reinstatement, according to manager Don Mattingly.

The Marlins placed 17 players on the injured list last week following an outbreak in Philadelphia that forced seven games to be postponed. The infected players returned to Miami to be quarantined, and will likely need rehab workouts before rejoining the team.

“They feeling great,” Mattingly said. “They all feel like they’re ready to go. There are a lot of guys who have applied for reinstatement. How long that takes, I’m not sure. But they feel like they’re ready to at least get back and start doing something.”

Players on the COVID-19 injury list must be cleared by the MLB joint committee before returning.

Mattingly made his comments before the Marlins’ game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, where they concluded a season-opening trip that turned into a 23-day marathon because of scheduling changes necessitated by the outbreak.

The team plays at Marlins Park for the first time this season Friday against Atlanta.