Early in the season, San Francisco Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski was surprisingly at the front of the National League MVP race. That faded as the season went on, but Yastrzemski still proved to be one of the best players in all of baseball in 2020.
And while he didn’t win MVP, he did finish eighth, which is a remarkable achievement for a player who spent seven years in the Minor Leagues before making his MLB debut last season.
He also wasn’t the only Giant to receive MVP votes, as first baseman Brandon Belt finished tied for 16th.
The award was voted on by 30 writers (two from each NL team’s market, 10 votes for each writer), and Yastrzemski appeared on 24 of those ballots, with his highest finish being a fourth-place vote from John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Belt received one ninth-place vote from Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (Arizona branch).
The Giants branch was made up of Maria Guardado from MLB.com and Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group/Mercury News. They selected Yastrzemski sixth and seventh, respectively.
Yaz finished behind the winner, Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves), as well as Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers), Manny Machado (San Diego Padres), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), Juan Soto (Washington Nationals), Marcell Ozuna (Braves), and Trea Turner (Nationals).
Both Yastrzemski and Belt had tremendous years, and the latter likely would have been on more ballots had he not missed the first week of the season with an injury. Turns out a week is a long time in a 60-game season.
Congratulations to both players.