MILWAUKEE -- After a record-setting season cut short by injury, Christian Yelich was named the Brewers MVP for the second straight year by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
The BBWAA is the same body that votes for league-wide awards, including the Most Valuable Player Award in each league, but those results won’t be unveiled until the week of Nov. 11. The chapter awards honored a club MVP, a most valuable pitcher, a newcomer of the year, an unsung hero and a good guy award winner.
Yelich was the headliner after batting .329 with 44 home runs, 97 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 130 games ending Sept. 10, the night he fouled a pitch off his right kneecap and suffered a fracture that ended his season. He led the Major Leagues in slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (1.100) and the National League in batting average and on-base percentage (.429). The batting title was Yelich’s second in as many seasons, making him the first to accomplish the feat in the NL since the Rockies’ Larry Walker in 1998-99. Yelich also produced the 12th 40-homer, 30-steal season in Major League history, something done by 10 different players all-time.
By any variety of measures, it was one of the best seasons in Brewers history. Yelich set franchise records with 172 weighted runs created plus (topping Ryan Braun’s 171 in 2011), .441 weighted on-base average (1987 Paul Molitor, .433), a 1.100 OPS (2009 Prince Fielder, 1.014), a .671 slugging percentage (2007 Fielder, .618) and 11.11 at-bats per home run (2007 Fielder, 11.46).
Other awards handed out by the chapter:
Most valuable pitcher: Brandon Woodruff
A first-time All-Star, Woodruff was 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts. He led the team in wins, strikeouts (143) and quality starts (10), and he was on the way to an even better campaign before going down with a left oblique strain on July 22, an injury that sidelined him six weeks. At the time of his injury, Woodruff ranked among the NL leaders in strikeouts (8th, 136), strikeouts per nine innings (9th, 10.40) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (9th, 4.69).
Top newcomer: Yasmani Grandal
Signed to a one-year, $18.25 million contract on Jan. 14, Grandal slashed .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs in a team-leading 153 games. The second-time All-Star produced 25 of his home runs as a catcher, breaking the franchise record for a season held by Dave Nilsson, who hit 21 as a catcher in 1999. Grandal ranked second in the NL in walks (109), joining Fielder (three times) as the only Brewers to walk more than 100 times in a season.
Unsung hero: Junior Guerra
The right-handed reliever went 9-5 with a 3.55 ERA and three saves in 72 relief appearances while leading the NL and ranking fourth in the Major Leagues in relief innings pitched (83 2/3). His nine wins out of the bullpen tied for third in the Majors. His career-high 72 appearances tied for eighth in the NL.
Good Guy Award: Chase Anderson
The award is presented annually to the player who has the most outgoing, friendly presence in the clubhouse and interacts well with the media on a daily basis in a cooperative and pleasant manner.