The best season of Anthony Rendon’s career was good enough for a third-place finish in a hotly contested MVP race.
Rendon was revealed tonight as the third-place finisher, behind winner Cody Bellinger and runner-up Christian Yelich, in this year’s National League MVP balloting.
Bellinger won the award, receiving 19 first-place votes and 362 total points. Yelich finished right behind him with 10 first-place votes and 317 total points.
Rendon received 242 points and one first-place vote among the 30 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (two per each NL city) who submitted their ballots prior to the start of the postseason.
It’s the best MVP ranking of Rendon’s career and the third-best finish by any player in Nationals history. Bryce Harper was the unanimous winner in 2015; Daniel Murphy placed second in 2016.
Though he didn’t come close to winning, Rendon certainly had a case after a fantastic all-around year. He ranked third in the NL in batting average (.319), second in on-base percentage (.412), third in slugging percentage (.598) and third in OPS (1.010). He led the league in doubles (44) and RBIs (126). He was also a Glove Glove Award finalist at third base.
Bellinger and Yelich, however, had equally impressive - perhaps slightly better - numbers. Yelich, last year’s winner, led the NL in most of the rate-based offensive categories: batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.429), slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (1.100). The only knock on the Brewers outfielder? He missed most of September with a season-ending knee injury, leaving his counting stats a bit short.
Bellinger ranked second in the NL in slugging (.629) and OPS (1.035), led the league in total bases (351) and WAR (9.0) and was a plus-rated defender at three positions (first base, center field, right field).
Four Nationals players received top 10 MVP votes this season. In addition to Rendon, Juan Soto received 45 points to finish ninth overall, Stephen Strasburg received four points to finish in a tie for 15th place and Max Scherzer received one 10th-place vote to finish tied for 22nd place.