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Dodgers star Cody Bellinger wins the 2019 NL MVP Award

Cody Bellinger, Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player on Thursday afternoon, becoming the first Dodgers position player since Bob Gibson (1988) to win the award.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich finished in second, while Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon placed third in the voting.

Bellinger was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 after breaking onto the scene with 39 homers and a .933 OPS. But he stagnated a bit in his sophomore season, hitting just 25 homers with an .814 OPS as the the walk rate fell along with the hard contact rate.

However, the 24-year-old put all doubts to rest as he bust out of the gates in 2019. Bellinger clubbed 14 homers and posted an absurd .431/.508/.890 slash line through the first month. An absurdly hot first half was mitigated somewhat by some slumps after the All-Star break, but Bellinger still finished his 2019 campaign with a .305/.406/.629 line with 47 homers, 115 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, and a 169 OPS+.

As good as Bellinger was at the plate, the reason he is the MVP likely stems from his sensational defensive performance. Bellinger played multiple positions and was third among outfielders (fourth among all players) with 19 Defensive Runs Saved.

Those defensive improvements helped Bellinger finish in a tie with Yelich for the best fWAR in the NL, and he ranked second in Win Probability Added (WPA).

In spite of their epic collapse in the NLDS, the Dodgers have a franchise cornerstone in Bellinger. He is a true five-tool player, and now he is the MVP.