We’ll open this up by saying that Anthony Rendon is a fantastic ballplayer. He continues to showcase his talent on the biggest stage with the Washington Nationals holding a 2-0 series lead over the Houston Astros. However, there may be a sense of recency bias involved in a recent vote by MLB players.
The winner of the NL Outstanding Player Award was Anthony Rendon. Not Cody Bellinger. While Rendon’s overall numbers stack up somewhat similarly to Bellinger’s, there is no doubt that Bellinger had the better overall season. It is somewhat fascinating to see what the actual players believe — guys who see each other everyday — and they seem to prefer Rendon to Bellinger. Interesting.
What doesn't @Anthonyrendon_6 do? Lethal on both sides of the ball, this @Nationals third baseman locked up his first NL Outstanding Player in the 2019 Players Choice Awards. We're sure there will be plenty more. Congrats, Anthony!
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) October 24, 2019
Cody Bellinger had a season for the ages, with a terrific first half and solid second half. However, his overall numbers declined as a result of just how high his peak was and how low his valley was. He finished the season with a .305 batting average, 1.035 on-base plus slugging, and 7.8 WAR. He was also fantastic on the defensive side of the ball, accruing a whopping 26 defensive runs saved — 19 coming in right field for which he has received a Gold Glove nomination.
Anthony Rendon was definitely creeping on Bellinger’s potential MVP for awhile, with both men trending in opposite directions. However, a lengthy slump at the tail end of September for the Nationals’ third baseman might entail Bellinger beating out Rendon. Christian Yelich is also in the mix despite a broken kneecap to cut his season short. Rendon’s overall numbers are fairly comparable to Bellinger’s, but they simply are not better. Rendon held a .319 batting average, 1.010 on-base plus slugging, and 7.0 WAR. Unlike Bellinger, Rendon was fairly average defensively at third base this season, accruing just 2 defensive runs saved.
Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Anthony Rendon were the three best players in the majors this season and that could wind up being the order of the MVP vote. We shall see. All in all, though, this might forecast a similar result in favor of Rendon over Bellinger.