All about Cody Bellinger
Drafted in the fourth round of the Major League Draft, Arizona native, Cody Bellinger first began his professional career with the Arizona League Dodgers, hitting a measly .210 in 195 plate appearances. He struggled finding contact at the plate, as he struck out 46 times in 47 games, but professional scouts still saw upside with Cody’s power potential.
After a few years, he worked his way into Double-A system playing with the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League, hitting .263 with 23 homers and 65 RBI’s, which led to a rapid promotion to the triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, where he ended up gaining six hits on 11 at bats and three home runs.
Cody’s continual growth led him to being assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall league after the season, where he would later participate in the Fall Stars game. This game featured the top prospects around the entire league and gained him the further experience he needed to later transition into the Los Angeles Dodgers organization on April 25th, 2017.
In the major leagues, Cody has seen nothing but admirable success in his first year, as he is currently second in the league in home runs with 22, behind the behemoth 6’7 phenom Aaron Judge, who has 25 home runs so far. Cody is also hitting a respectable .271, with his hot zones being around the low, inside to down the middle. For the month of may, he was named the National League player of the Week for his nine homers, tying James Loney and Joc Pederson for the most home runs by a Dodger rookie.
The current room for improvement for Cody lies in the outside pitches from the middle of the zone all the way to the high cheese. But as a 21 year old student of the game, he has massive upside and will absorb as much information from the veteran players as possible as he continues to develop his all-around game.
Cody home runs below – awesome !
With the media attention surrounding budding stars Bellinger, the question of “How did he get to where he is today” arises. It all begins with the power he generates behind his aggressive swing. Back in his high school days, Cody swing focused more on producing line drives and not just slapping the ball. His numbers spoke to the fact that he was focused on hitting more for average, as you could see with his .312 average in the minors one year and only produced three home runs.
However, when the Dodgers called him up, they wanted to tweak his swing a little bit, where they can devote their attention to teaching him how to lift the ball, as the organization saw it as fit that Cody should be seen as a power and home run hitter. The Dodgers worked on Cody’s posture to clear up additional space for his barrel to work upward to produce the necessary lift.
As we have witnessed in his first year, Cody allowed the average to drop to .271 but he has hit 22 home runs with 49 RBI’s. Also in comparison, to his line-drive hitting years that produced higher batting averages, Cody’s OPS has been better this year with the Dodgers. This could be explained by instilling fear into pitcher’s minds in tight ball game situations with runners on, and pitchers deciding to walk him, in fear of a potential home run. Also, as he gets older and gains more at bats, Cody will be able to enhance his patience at the plate and learn how to get himself in hitter’s counts.
In further breaking down his mechanics, his success begins in his load and stride. Watching him hit, one can observe how he loads up his back hip, first starting off in a neutral position but then his back hip pocket turns toward the pitcher as the pitch enters. His back knee can be seen rotating and he strides forward, releasing all the power from his load position onto the pitch. Further, in analyzing baseball instruction videos, by other great hitters, there is a resemblance in where his head is during the pitch.
His head can be seen over his back hip, as he is creating superb separation and stretch between his lower and upper halves. Timing is also a strong component because as he moves forward and stay back up top, he’s really able to sink into his frontside where he can hit the tougher off speed pitches.
It will be very interesting to see how Bellinger’s career pans out, as he is already off to a monstrous start for the Dodgers and helping them towards playoff contention as it has been since 1988 since they’ve won a world series. The lineup has plenty of promise with players such as Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig as well as studs Clayton Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy who have been leading the charge on the mound.