Christian Yelich didn’t regress and he’s pointing and laughing at us right now. I’m not sure how the madman did it, but here we are still several weeks away from the All Star game and Yelich is sitting on top of 25 home runs. He’s currently slashing .345/.446/.749 with an OPS of 1.195 which are all career highs for him, even after last year. He never missed a beat and some of us are still patiently waiting for the regression to kick in, any day now.
That’s not to say I personally want him to fail by any means, it just seemed like the next logical step in the process after winning an MVP, largely aided by his second half last year. Chances are if you win an MVP that was more than likely the best season of your career. We all expected him to be good this year, maybe hit a few less homers and not win a batting title type of good. To compare him with the AL MVP last year, Mookie Betts, who sports a .263/.383/.454 with an OPS of .837. Betts is still putting up above average numbers, but comparing him to his MVP season you can’t help but want more out of him.
Should we really be surprised at how crazy Yelich has been though? Yelich was already a really good hitter in Miami with a slash line of .290/.369/.432 and an OPS of .800 and even won a Gold Glove on defense. We probably should have guessed he was bound for a good year as he entered the prime of his career at age 26 when he first came to Milwaukee. But still, we all sat there with our mouths open when he went on his insane tear leading the Brewers to the playoffs. Without him, the Brewers more than likely would have fallen short of postseason glory of any kind.
If you had a gun to my head and demanded to know why Yelich was all of sudden Barry Bonds, I think we could point to the culprit that is Miller Park (soon to be named after American Family Insurance, bleh). After browsing Yelich’s stats I was floored when I compared how many home runs he hit in Marlins Park versus how many he hit at Miller Park. Yelich has had 1,361 plate appearances at Marlins Park and hit 18 home runs in that time frame. How many has he hit at Miller Park? 41 home runs in just 490 plate appeaddrances. I can hardly wrap my head around that. Imagine if he played his entire career in Milwaukee. He’d probably have a couple more MVP’s sitting at home.
Which doesn’t mean Yelich is bad everywhere else, he just really loves Miller Park. This season he’s batting .276/.376/.504 with an OPS of .880 on the road. The biggest difference is the home runs, and it’s a huge difference. He’s got nineteen home runs at home and just six on the road. If I’m managing the Brewers should I be worried about that? No, not at all. If you told me the star player on my team would put up those numbers on the road, I’d probably get up and do a little dance. He’s still getting on base and slugging and putting fear in the minds of every pitcher he faces. Besides, sooner or later Yelich will hit a bunch of dingers during a road trip and all of sudden his away numbers look just as good as the home ones.
Yelich is here to here to hit dingers and win MVP’s. None of us thought this is where we’d be at the start of the 2018 season, but here we are. It’s really impressive to see what he’s doing and even as a Cubs fan, I’m going to sit back and enjoy (and maybe wince a little every time he comes up to the plate). All you can do is tip your cap to a guy like him and I hope he keeps it up.