Bellinger earned 19 of 30 first-place votes and 362 total votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich placed second at 317 votes, and Rendon earned 242, including one first-place and one second-place vote.
The Nationals’ star posted the best season of his career. Rendon led the NL in RBI with 126, tied for the lead in doubles with 44 and led in batting average until the last week of the season, finishing third at .319. He added career highs in home runs (34), on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.010).
He was also a Gold Glove finalist at the hot corner with a .969 fielding percentage.
Rendon earned his first All-Star appearance this season and his highest finish in MVP voting. He placed sixth in 2017.
But it wasn’t enough to land the coveted award, as the race was widely viewed as a two-man race between Bellinger and Yelich for most of the second half of the season. Yelich, the 2018 MVP, missed the final 18 games of the year after breaking his kneecap on a foul ball.
Bellinger led baseball with 9.0 wins above replacement, advanced his reputation as an outstanding defensive player and belted 47 home runs, the third-best mark in the NL.
Second-year Washington star Juan Soto finished ninth in MVP voting, and pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer picked up four votes and one vote, respectively.
Going forward, there’s a much bigger question surrounding Rendon than whether he deserves to win MVP: Where will he play in 2020? For the second straight year, the Nationals have a MVP-caliber player entering free agency, after outfielder Bryce Harper famously entered the “hot stove” last winter without a new deal and eventually signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
General manager Mike Rizzo said this week that the Nationals will try to treat Rendon and World Series Most Valuable Player Strasburg like any other free agents, but they believe they’ve got a “head start” on bringing them back to Washington.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout edged out Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman for the crown in the American League. Trout, just 28, won his third AL MVP, earning 17 first-place votes while Bregman won the other 13.
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