Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs captured the 2016 National League Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday and edged fellow finalists Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals to win the NL's top individual honor.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America shared the news and final voting results:
|NL MVP Voting Results|
|Player||First-Place Votes||Second-Place Votes||Third-Place Votes||Points|
|Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs||29||1||--||415|
|Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals||1||11||10||245|
|Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers||--||11||10||240|
Winning the MVP caps a remarkable season for Bryant. While it's hard to imagine any feeling matching that of helping the organization end its 108-year championship drought, this is probably as close as it gets from a personal perspective.
The 24-year-old third baseman was outstanding during the regular season. He hit .292 with a .385 on-base percentage to go along with 39 home runs, 102 runs batted in, 121 runs scored and eight stolen bases. His 8.4 WAR easily led the league, according to FanGraphs.
In September, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago noted Bryant credited his teammates for creating an atmosphere of intense competition that made everybody better:
Look at our pitchers—they're just outdueling each other every day. Kyle [Hendricks] goes out there and has an awesome game, and then Jake [Arrieta]'s like: 'OK, it's my turn.'
There's a certain feel. You never want to be the type that's all about your individual self. But I think you can just kind of see that people want to do well for the team. And in order to do that, they just outshine each other.
I love that. I love seeing the competition. It just makes this whole environment so much fun to be in.
While there's no doubt the Cubs featured plenty of star power—which made completing the World Series journey far from a surprise—Bryant is the cornerstone. He'll lead the way if the club transforms a title into a new dynasty.
Randall J. Sanders of NumbersMLB previously highlighted the star's recent accolades:
Randall J. Sanders @RandallJSanders
Kris Bryant, 2013-2016 Dick Howser Trophy Golden Spikes Award Minor League PotY NL RotY 2x All-Star Hank Aaron Award World Champion NL MVP?2016-11-7 17:00:02
Ultimately, his outstanding campaign paired with the Cubs' regular-season success made him a slam dunk choice for the MVP despite great years from Seager and Murphy. The Dodgers shortstop hit .308 with 26 homers to win the NL Rookie of the Year, while the Nationals second baseman finished second in the batting-title race to DJ LeMahieu (.348) at .347 to go with 25 home runs.
What makes the situation more worrisome for the rest of the National League is that Bryant is so young. He should still have around a decade of top-tier production left, which is the biggest reason the Cubs' outlook is so promising.