After not having a top-10 catcher prospect, the Dodgers are back in MLB’s top prospect list with the sixth-best first base prospect.
When the Dodgers traded for Adrian Gonzalez, they gave up promising prospects (at the time) for Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. Punto and Beckett each contributed a bit, Crawford is very solid when healthy (which he never is) and extremely overpaid, and Gonzalez is still as consistent as ever.
Gonzalez is arguably the Dodgers’ most valuable player. He’s not the best by any means, but imagining this Dodger team without Gonzo is a scary thought. First base would feature some combination of Justin Turner, Chase Utley and Scott Van Slyke. The Dodgers haven’t really had a suitable backup or any sort of promising first base prospect in recent years, which is why Cody Bellinger‘s inclusion on MLB’s top first base prospect list is a welcomed sight.
Bellinger is still a ways away, and might perfectly line up with the end of Gonzalez’s contract in 2019. Here’s MLB.com’s excerpt on Bellinger.
"The son of former big leaguer Clay Bellinger switched from a line-drive approach and emphasized power last year, resulting in 30 homers and California League-leading totals of 97 runs and 103 RBIs. Bellinger’s lanky frame still has room to add a lot of strength, and he’s the best athlete and defender on this list."
Clay Bellinger had a brief major league career, appearing in 344 games over four different seasons for the New York Yankees. Clay appeared at seven different positions in 2000 (all but pitcher and catcher) and six in 2001 (all but pitcher, catcher and second). His best season came in 2000, when he triple slashed .207/.288/.370 and hit six homers in 209 plate appearances. Hopefully, his son will have a larger impact at the major league level.
Cody Bellinger was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Hamilton HS in Arizona. He turns 21 in July and seemed to completely change his approach between rookie ball and high-A Rancho Cucamonga.
In 2014, Bellinger triple-slashed .312/.352/.474 with three homers and 40 strikeouts/15 walks in 215 rookie league plate appearances, most of which came in the Pioneer League. He spent all of 2015 in High-A Rancho and had a completely different hitting profile, triple slashing .264/.336/.538 with 30 homers, 150 strikeouts and 52 walks in 544 plate appearances. He also had 10 steals, which plays well with MLB calling him the best athlete on this list. He’s primarily a first baseman, but his athleticism allowed him to play over 200 errorless innings in the outfield at Rancho.
In the most up-to-date version of MLB’s top Dodger prospect list, Bellinger was the 10th ranked prospect and the fourth-highest non-pitching prospect, behind Corey Seager, Alex Verdugo and Micah Johnson.
MLB’s position lists continue to roll out next week, culminating with the top-100 overall prospects being announced Friday, Jan 29. The top 50 will be revealed on MLB Network at 6:00 PM PST.