Cody Bellinger

American professional baseball player Cody James Bellinger (born July 13, 1995) plays both outfield and first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was picked up by the Dodgers in 2013 after they used the fourth overall pick in the MLB draft.

Bellinger, the son of Major League Baseball pitcher Clay Bellinger, led his team to the Little League World Series in 2007. Before being drafted, he had committed to play baseball for the Oregon Ducks at the collegiate level after four years at Chandler, Arizona’s Hamilton High School.

After two years in the Rookie Leagues, Bellinger signed with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League in 2015, where he became a midseason and postseason all-star while also contributing to the team’s championship run. He had a slow 2016 due to a hip injury, but in April of 2017, the Dodgers summoned him up to help a struggling outfield.

Cody Bellinger, an outfielder for the Dodgers, is having a terrible year, following a downward trend that began after his MVP season in 2019.

By the halfway point of the abbreviated 2020 season, Bellinger’s performance has begun to decline, with his OPS sitting at.489. But in his last 37 games, he hit.284 with an OPS of.960, good for a 112 OPS+.

Due to a dislocated right shoulder sustained in the 2020 NLCS and subsequent off-season surgery, he missed a significant portion of the previous season with a number of injuries. Therefore, it was understandable to attribute his dismal 44 OPS+ to physical setbacks.

However, Bellinger has been healthy and has shown promising glimpses of greatness this year. Though his 77 OPS+ is his lowest in a healthy season, his 1.3 WAR is a credit to his defense. While Bellinger’s 1.3 WAR is better than predicted, the industry standard is 2.0, thus he is still not starting material.

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Career

Cody Bellinger

During the October celebration of his NLCS-winning home run, he collided with teammate Enrique Hernández’s arm and dislocated his shoulder. Bellinger’s rehabilitation from arthroscopic glenoid labrum surgery went swimmingly, and he was able to report to Dodgers spring training in 2021.

On April 6, he has seriously hurt again after colliding with Oakland Athletics pitcher Reymin Guduan. After putting Bellinger on the 10-day disabled list, doctors discovered he had a hairline fracture in his left fibula.  Although he went hitless in his May 29 return game against the Giants (he went 0-for-4) and struck out twice, Bellinger was able to extend his on-base streak to 20 games thanks to a walk in the sixth inning.

Bellinger had his worst offensive game ever upon his return from injury. During his first 11 games back, he had 14 strikeouts and just one extra-base hit. Bellinger’s center field defense remained solid, but he was hitting below.200 at both home and on the road by July 23. Bellinger’s batting improved when he continued to work out the areas impacted by his shoulder and leg problems, which he acknowledged were the cause of his dismal performance in August.

Roberts decided at the end of the month to start A. J. Pollock, Mookie Betts, or Chris Taylor in place of Bellinger against left-handed pitching, relegating Bellinger to a platoon role in the outfield. However, after suffering injuries to Pollock and Taylor, the Dodgers quickly abandoned the platoon strategy.

In September, Bellinger cracked a rib after colliding with teammate Gavin Lux, marking his third serious injury of the season. Bellinger’s fracture had already caused him to miss 46 games before the accident. Bellinger ended the regular season with a.165 batting average, 10 home runs, and 36 RBIs, all of which were career lows.

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