The NL Most Valuable Player award was announced Thursday evening, and as was predicted from the very first month of the season, Cody Bellinger won his first MVP award.
“Just two years ago he was the National League Rookie of the Year, and now Cody Bellinger has the NL Most Valuable Player trophy as well,” Jack O’Connell, the Secretary treasurer for the BBWAA announced live on MLB Network.
Bellinger, surrounded by friends and family, including Cole Tucker of the Pittsburgh Pirates, was visibly moved when the award was announced. “It’s absolutely incredible. A little emotional, it’s pretty cool. It’s what you dream of man, for sure,” Bellinger remarked after learning of his win.
In his third season with the Dodgers, Bellinger appeared in a career-high 156 games, batting .305 with 37 doubles, 47 homers, and 115 RBI. He had career-highs in hits, runs scored, doubles, homers, RBI, walks and stolen bases. He also played three different positions and earned a Gold Glove in right field, something that may have swayed the voters in his direction.
Bellinger received 19 of the 30 first place votes and 10 second place votes, collecting 362 total points. Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich came in second with 10 first place and 18 second place votes, with a total of 317. Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals was third with one first, one second, and 24 third place votes for a total of 242 votes.
The Dodgers right fielder was the first Dodger position player to win NL MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988, and the first Dodger overall since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. He joins Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP, and Steve Garvey and Maury Wills as Dodgers that won both a Gold Glove and MVP in the same season.
Several people connected with the Dodgers weighed in with their thoughts of Bellinger and his MVP season.
Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said, “On behalf of our ownership and the entire Dodger organization, I want to congratulate Cody on this special award. From the moment the 2018 season ended, he was a man on a mission to better understand his swing and to become a more complete hitter. The results of that work are being rewarded in the ultimate way. His name will forever be etched in franchise history alongside the distinguished list of Dodger greats. This is a special day for Cody Bellinger, his family and the Dodgers.”
Dodger Manager Dave Roberts was equally as proud: “I want to congratulate Cody on a tremendous season. Playing every game with passion and a focus on winning a baseball game was the impetus for this MVP campaign. There wasn’t one part of his game that he didn’t dominate. Finally, I’d like to thank him for putting the Dodgers and his teammates above all else.”
Kershaw: “I had a ton of fun watching him this year. It’s very well-deserved. What everyone says is true—great talent, great athlete, all that stuff… but man, he’s just a great baseball player and there is nothing else to say. Congratulations, Cody!”
And last, but not least, from 1974 NL MVP Steve Garvey: “Cody’s season showcased a complete player who excelled on offense and defense, while leading his team to a record-setting regular season. The award establishes you in an elite fraternity as those chosen as the best player. It stays with you a lifetime and there’s only one winner in each league every season. I’m extremely proud of Cody.”