Following a season in which he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 homers, 121 runs and 115 RBI, Cody Bellinger won his first NL MVP award over fellow finalists Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon. The Los Angeles Dodgers' first baseman took home the award in just his third big league season, and will certainly be one of the top contenders heading into 2020.
Beyond Bellinger trying to repeat, there are a number of strong options vying to snatch the award away from the Dodgers' first baseman come next season. With that in mind, here are four players most likely to win the 2020 NL MVP award.
1. Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Let's start with Bellinger, who followed a somewhat disappointing sophomore season with his MVP campaign, finishing top 10 in the league in home runs, RBI and runs scored. Bellinger's production remained solid in the season's second half, although he did drop off from the torrid pace he set early on, slashing .336/.432/.692 with 30 homers before the All-Star break. He batted .263/.371/.546 with 17 homers after, but that was still enough to him to take home the award. Bellinger possesses arguably the best bat speed in the game, and looks like a lock for 40-plus homers, 100-plus runs and 100-plus RBI as long as he remains healthy during the 2020 MLB season. The Dodgers are also always toward the top of the NL West standings, another perk for Bellinger when it comes to a potential repeat.
2. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
If it wasn't for a fractured kneecap that cost him the final 18 games of the season, Christian Yelich could have won his second consecutive NL MVP award. The Milwaukee Brewers' superstar centerfielder hit .329/.429/.671 with 44 homers, 30 stolen bases, 100 runs and 97 RBI in just 130 games last season. Yelich is considered by many as the second best all-around player in baseball behind AL MVP Mike Trout, and he's been an absolute stud offensively since joining the Brewers for the 2018 season. Despite his devastating injury, the Brew Crew still advanced to the NL Wild Card game, and look to be a contender once again in 2020, especially if they can add some much-needed starting pitching this offseason. If the Brewers find themselves atop the NL Central in 2020, Yelich will likely have a lot to do with it, making him one of the early MVP favorites.
3. Javier Báez, SS, Chicago Cubs
After finishing as the runner-up for the 2018 NL MVP, Javier Baez had another great season in 2019, hitting .281 with 29 homers and 85 RBI, even though he was limited to 138 games due to a late-season thumb fracture. Baez is one of the best all-around players in baseball, something that puts him on the short list of NL MVP favorites. If the Chicago Cubs can bounce back in the NL Central, coupled with another big statistical year by Baez, the infielder could find himself in the running for the award in 2020.
4. Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves
One of the brightest young stars in all of baseball, Roñald Acuna Jr. was not an NL MVP finalist last season, despite hitting .280/.365/.518 with 41 homers, 37 stolen bases, 127 runs and 101 RBI for the NL East-winning Atlanta Braves. Acuna, who is only 21 years old, is a solid bet to win at least one MVP award during his career, and it could easily happen as soon as next season. Acuna was one of only two players in Majors to go 30-30 last season, and he possesses arguably the best blend of power and speed in all of baseball. There's still room for improvement for the young outfielder as he continues his ascension up the list of the best players in Major League Baseball.
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