Cody Bellinger

From BR Bullpen

Cody James Bellinger

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

The son of major leaguer Clay Bellinger, first baseman Cody Bellinger was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 amateur draft. He soon signed for a $700,000 bonus and made his pro debut with the AZL Dodgers on June 20th. He hit .210 in 47 games, with 1 homer and 30 RBIs. In 2014, he split his time between the AZL Dodgers and Ogden Raptors, hitting a combined .312/.352/.474 in 51 games. He followed that in 2015 with an outstanding performance with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League. At only 19, he played 128 games and hit .264 with 33 doubles and 30 homers, scoring 97 runs and driving in 103. He continued his progression in 2016, playing mainly in AA with the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League. In 114 games, he hit .263/.359/.484 with 23 homers and 65 RBIs while still being much younger tan the average player in the circuit. He also had a brief taste of AAA with the Oklahoma City Dodgers and was not at all intimidated, going 6 for 11 with 3 homers.

Having established himself as one of the Dodgers' top prospects, Bellinger was called up to the Show on April 25, 2017 and was immediately inserted in the starting line-up in left field. Batting eighth against the San Francisco Giants, he went 1 for 3 with a walk in his debut. Injuries to Joc Pederson and Franklin Gutierrez were behind his being called up ahead of schedule. He was batting .343 with 5 home runs, 4 doubles and 7 RBIs in 18 games for Oklahoma City at the time. He hit his first two major league homers in the same game on April 29th, his first coming off Zach Eflin in the 7th, and the second as part of three consecutive long balls off Hector Neris in the 9th, part of a four-run inning that gave Los Angeles a 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 28th, he connected for his 10th homer since his call-up in a 9-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. In doing so, he became the fastest player in Dodgers history to reach double figures in homers for his career, doing so in his 31st big league game. He was leading the team in home runs at that point, in spite of his belated start. he was named the National League Rookie of the Month for May as a result. On June 2nd, he homered in the 12th inning off Neftali Feliz of the Milwaukee Brewers for the winning margin in a 2-1 win, ending a game in which the Dodgers set a team record with 26 strikeouts and both teams combined for a National League record 42. As the 12th homer of his career, he now had the same number as his father, who had taken 183 major league games to reach the mark. With a pair of homers on June 19th, he reached a total of 21 for the year, making him the fastest player in major league history to the mark, in 51 games. In spite of his belated start to the season, he was now leading the NL in homers. The previous holders of the mark for the most homers in their first 51 games were Wally Berger and Gary Sanchez, with 20, Sanchez having tied the mark just the previous year. On June 25th, his sixth two-homer game of the season gave him 24 long balls for the year and put him one multi-homer game behind the rookie record set by Mark McGwire in 1987. The two long balls came in a 12-6 win over the Rockies - the Dodgers' 10th straight win - and his power hitting was the main reason they were the hottest team in the league at that point. He repeated as Rookie of the Month in June, having batted .286 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs during the month. Not surprisingly, he was named to the All-Star team. After participating in the 2017 All-Star Game and in the Home Run Derby that preceded it, he became the first rookie in Dodgers history to hit for the cycle in a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins on July 15th. He singled in the 1st, hit a two-run homer in the 3rd, a double good for another run in the 4th and completed the feat with his second career triple of Nick Wittgren in the 7th. On August 19th, he turned his ankle while making a catch in right field at Comerica Park in a game against the Detroit Tigers and had to miss a few games before being placed on the disabled list on August 22nd. He returned on August 30th and by connecting for long balls on September 2-3, he pushed his home run total to 36, breaking the Dodgers rookie record set by Mike Piazza in 1993. On September 22nd, his 39th homer made him the sole holder of the National League rookie record, which had been shared by Wally Berger and Frank Robinson. He finished the year at .276 in 132 games, with 39 homers and 97 RBIs. In the postseason, he homered once in each round in which the Dodgers played, including hitting .318 with a pair of doubles in the win over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. In the World Series, however, he struck out 17 times while walking just once, going 4 for 28, as the Houston Astros' pitchers attacked him relentlessly with breaking balls and he was unable to adjust. After the season, he was voted the unanimous winner of the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

He started the 2018 season well, cutting down his strikeouts, raising his batting average and hitting a lot of extra-base hits even if his home run percentage was down a bit in April. On April 29th, however, he was benched in the middle of a game against the San Francisco Giants by manager Dave Roberts for lack of hustle. What Roberts had not liked was that he had to settle for a double on a ball hit to the wall after taking his time getting out of the batter's box on what should have been, in his manager's opinion, an easy triple; he then aggravated his case by being doubled off the bag on a line drive, and then an inning later was replaced at first base by Max Muncy.

In addition to his father, Cody's brother Cole Bellinger was drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round of the 2017 amateur draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]

NL Rookie of the Year
2016 2017 2018
Corey Seager Cody Bellinger Ronald Acuna

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ken Gurnick: "Dodgers promote top prospect Bellinger",, April 26, 2017. [1]
  • Ken Gurnick: "Bellinger bulks up for sophomore season: NL Rookie of the Year gains 15 pounds as he hopes to avoid letdown",, January 18, 2018. [2]
  • Gabe Lacques: "How high can Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger fly? We're about to find out", USA Today Sports, June 20, 2017. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Cody Bellinger's fast start boosts Dodgers, heartens dad", USA Today Sports, June 13, 2017. [4]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Dodgers dominating since Cody Bellinger's arrival to the bigs", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2017. [5]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Highs, lows of Springer, Bellinger tell Series tale: Astros star shakes off slump, becomes Classic MVP; LA slugger breaks K record",, November 2, 2017. [6]
  • Joe Trezza: "Bellinger's turnaround results in NLCS MVP honor",, October 21, 2018. [7]

Biographical Information[edit]