Milwaukee's Christian Yelich wins NL MVP Award

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich was a runaway winner for the National League Most Valuable Player award after helping the Brewers return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

Yelich received 29 first-place votes and 415 points from the Baseball Writers' Association of America in balloting announced Thursday.

Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez was next with 250 points, followed by Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado with 203. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman finished fourth with 174, and the other first-place vote went to New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, the NL Cy Young Award winner, who finished fifth.

Acquired from the payroll-paring Miami Marlins about a month before spring training, the 26-year-old Yelich won his first NL batting title -- and the first in Brewers history -- with a .326 average. He set career highs with 36 homers and 110 RBIs and had a 1.000 OPS.

Yelich nearly became the NL's first Triple Crown winner since Joe Medwick in 1937, finishing two homers shy of Arenado and one RBI back of Baez. Yelich was especially impressive in the second half, hitting .367 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs -- including 11 homers in August and 10 in September.

Milwaukee swept Colorado in the Division Series then lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game League Championship Series, falling one win short of its first World Series appearance since 2002. Voting concluded at the end of the regular season.

Yelich gets a $100,000 bonus for winning, and the price of the 2022 team option in his contract increases by $1 million to $16 million.

The AL award was to be announced later Thursday. Boston outfielder Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez were the finalists.