Kris Bryant, the precocious third baseman who earlier this month propelled the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, was named the 2016 National League MVP on Thursday, beating out Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Corey Seager and Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy.
Unanimously voted the NL Rookie of the Year a year ago, Bryant was the top choice for 2016 MVP for all but one of the 30 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, falling one first-place vote shy of becoming the second unanimous NL MVP in a row. (In 2015, after smashing 42 homers with a 1.109 OPS, Bryce Harper became the youngest unanimous MVP in history).
Bryant, drafted second overall in 2013, is just the fourth player ever to win the MVP award the year after being named Rookie of the Year, joining Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard, and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
|Kris Bryant (CHC)||29||1||415|
|Daniel Murphy (WAS)||1||11||10||6||1||245|
|Corey Seager (LAD)||11||10||7||2||240|
|Anthony Rizzo (CHC)||3||4||10||10||202|
|Nolan Arenado (COL)||3||6||6||11||199|
One of myriad bright spots in what proved to be a magical, cathartic season for the long-suffering Cubs, Bryant, 24, smashed 39 homers with a .939 OPS (149 wRC+) in 155 games while leading the NL in WAR (8.4) in 2016.
“It’s all downhill from here,” Bryant joked on a conference call with reporters, including ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.