Christian Yelich, the National League’s top hitter over the past two seasons, signed a contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers worth $215 million. The new deal will keep Yelich a member of the Brewers until at least 2028, or 2029 if both sides exercise a mutual option. Yelich won the 2018 NL MVP, but finished second in voting for the 2019 NL MVP.
Yelich hit .329 with 44 home runs and 97 RBI in 2019. In 130 games, he slashed at .329/.429./.671 during his second season in Milwaukee. He nursed a bad back at the start of the season, but fractured his knee cap in early September. The time out cost him a shot at a home run title and a Triple Crown.
In 2018, Yelich played 147 games with the Brewers. He hit .326 with 36 home runs and 110 RBI. His sensational first season in Milwaukee secured him the NL batting title and the MVP award. In 2018, Yelich slashed at .326/.402/.598.
WHO IS CHRISTIAN YELICH?
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA
Teams: Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers
Yelich led the NL in OBP with .429 and slugging with .671. He’s also one of the few players in all of baseball to pass 1.00 in OPS with 1.10.
In his first two seasons with the Brewers, Yelich smacked 80 home runs and drove in 207 runs in just 277 games.
In terms of advanced metrics and WAR, Yelich is one of the best players in baseball. Only a handful of players were more valuable at their position than Yelich, including baseball’s elite class with Mike Trout, Jacob deGrom, Mookie Betts, and Alex Bergman. In 2018, Yelich had a 7.6 WAR. In 2019, he had a 7.1 WAR.
The Valley > Miami > Milwaukee
Yelich grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, a part of Los Angeles in what locals commonly refer to as “The Valley.” He excelled as a multi-sport star at Westlake High School. He considered attending Miami on a baseball scholarship, but decided to go directly to the minor leagues after the Miami Marlins selected him with the #23 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.
In 2013, the 21-year old Yelich finally made it to “the Show” and played 62 games with the Marlins. He hit .287 but had yet to develop power at the plate with only four home runs.
In 2014, Yelich played his first full season and slashed at .284/.362/.402 with nine home runs, 54 RBI, and 21 stolen bases.
In 2016, Yelich posted his best season with the Marlins. He smacked 21 home runs, drove in 98 RBI, and just missed out on hitting .300. He slashed at .298/.376/.483.
Yelich became a part of a young and talented outfield that also included Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. In 2017, the trio of outfielders slugged 154 home runs, with Stanton jacking 59. That would be the final time all three would play together.
Before the 2018 season began, the Marlins traded Stanton to the New York Yankees, shipped Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, and sent Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange for Yelich, the Marlins received four prospects.
Yelich Staying with the Brewers
During an era in which small-market teams funnel talent to big-market teams, it was refreshing to see the Milwaukee Brewers open the bank vault and pay Yelich a fat contract extension. Yelich’s $215 million deal more than doubled the record for their previous biggest contract ($105 million for Ryan Braun). Milwaukee was able to sign Yelich at a discount instead of watching a deep-pocketed team like the Dodgers or Red Sox swoop in and sign him for a ridiculous sum that the Brewers had no chance in matching.
Yelich will earn $12.5 million this season and $15 next season. The new contract extension for Yelich bumps his annual salary to $27 million with the Brewers. The price tag is still cheaper than what Mike Trout earns at $35 million per season.
The Brewers lost two key players in free agency. Catcher Yasmani Grandal signed a four-year deal with the Chicago White Sox for $73 million. Infielder Mike Moustakas inked a four-year deal with the Cincinnati Red for $64 million.
Yelich led the Brewers to postseason berths the last two seasons. In 2018, the Brewers won 96 games and won the NL Central. They lost in the NLDS in seven games to the LA Dodgers.
In 2019, the Brewers won 89 games and secured a NL Wild Card berth. They lost to the red-hot Washington Nationals in the Wild Card and the Nats went on to win the World Series.
According to a recent update by William Hill, the Milwaukee Brewers are 35/1 odds to win the 2020 World Series.