Southern California

SoCal Sweep! Dodgers' Cody Bellinger and Angels' Mike Trout Win NL and AL MVP Awards

Dodgers' slugger Cody Bellinger and Angels' outfielder Mike Trout were officially named the National League and American League Most Valuable Player Award winners on Thursday, completing the Southern California sweep.

Los Angeles is home to the two best baseball players in the world. 

Dodgers' slugger Cody Bellinger and Angels' outfielder Mike Trout were officially named the National League and American League Most Valuable Player Award winners on Thursday, completing the Southern California sweep.

Bellinger received 19 of 30 first-place votes to edge out last year's winner, Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. Yelich received 10 first-place votes, and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon received one first-place vote, finishing in third-place. 

In the American League, Mike Trout received 17 of 30 first-place votes, surpassing Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman who received 13 first-place votes and finished in second. Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien finished third. It is the third time in his career that Trout has won the AL MVP award.

Meanwhile, Bellinger adds another piece of hardware to his already stocked trophy case. The 24-year-old won the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Award, and has already won a Louisville Silver Slugger and a Rawlings Gold Glove Award this season.

Bellinger had a record-breaking start to the season, and bounced back in his third year in the league, after a bit of a drop-off in his sophomore campaign. Bellinger batted .305/.406.629, with 47 homers, 115 RBI, 95 walks, and 15 stolen bases.

Bellinger was clearly the best player on a Dodgers team that won a franchise record 106 games and secured their seventh consecutive National League West title. He becomes the 12th player in franchise history to win the award, and the first position player since Kirk Gibson in 1988 to take home the game's top prize. Clayton Kershaw was the last Dodger to take home the award in 2014. Bellinger is the first Arizona-born player to win the award.

Bellinger got emotional live on MLB Network after he was announced as the winner. He started to tear up following a congratulatory hug with his father--former MLB player Clay Bellinger.

Bellinger was blessed with a bit of luck in winning the award after a late-season injury to Yelich derailed his chances of winning the prize for the second straight season. Major League Baseball launched a marketing campaign early in June, touting the two presumptive MVP favorites, and launched a social media campaign where you could vote for either "Belli" or "Yelli" for MVP. 

Before he fractured his kneecap on Sept. 10, Yelich led the league in batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.429), and slugging percentage (.671). At the time of his injury, he was the favorite to win the award, and was ahead of Bellinger in homers (44), and stolen bases (30). 

Another knock against Yelich was that after his season-ending injury, the Brewers surged in the standings. Once thought dead following the announcement, Milwaukee was five games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card spot at the time of the injury. The Brewers finished the season 19-4, and were four outs away from defeating the eventual champion Nationals in the wild card game.

Meanwhile, Trout's victory marks the fifth time the Angels have taken home the AL MVP Award. Trout was selected despite missing the final three weeks of the season with a foot injury. Before he was shut down for the season, the 28-year-old was far ahead of the other MVP candidates, posting a career-high 45 homers and .645 slugging percentage. 

Trout is overwhelmingly considered to be the best player in baseball, and has either won or finished in the top four in voting for the MVP Award in his last eight seasons. One knock against Trout, is the struggles of his team. The Angels have not won a playoff series in Trout's tenure, and had their worst season over that span with just 72 wins this year. 

Trout joins Barry Bonds, and teammate Albert Pujols, and seven others, as the only players to win the award at least three times. 

The awards are voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The full results, via the BBWAA are below:

BBWAA
The full voting results for the 2019 Natinal League MVP Award via BBWAA.
BBWAA
The full voting results for the 2019 American League MVP Award via BBWAA.
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