Dodgers Call up Top Prospect, Cody Bellinger
The time has come Dodger fans and the team’s top prospect and baseball’s top first base prospect will be joining the club on the big league roster.
First reported by Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers are calling up their top prospect, Cody Bellinger to join the team’s active roster. The move comes as a pleasant surprise to Dodger fans as the offense has sputtered all season long and have been looking for a spark.
The move comes just a day removed after the team placed center fielder Joc Pederson on the 10-Day DL with a strained right groin. It’s not yet known the severity of Pederson’s injury, but Bellinger’s presence in the lineup should help fill the void in the outfield.
This move could mean that Pederson could miss an extended period, but could also be to support the production of the offense entirely. Let’s hope Pederson’s injury isn’t too severe and we can see both Bellinger and Pederson in the outfield at the same time.
The former fourth-rounder has been getting some playing time in the outfield this season in Triple-A and figures to play left field and center field until Pederson is back healthy. Bellinger has shown his ability to hit for power all throughout spring training and through the first 18 games in Triple-A.
Bellinger was leading the Oklahoma City roster with a .343/.429/.627 slash rate including 5 home runs and 7 stolen bases. Bellinger is the true meaning of a five-tool player, and he could offer that much-needed power boost that the Dodgers’ lineup has been missing.
Interesting enough was that the Dodgers waited for the right opportunity to call up Bellinger because they didn’t want to waste his bat on the bench in the big leagues. As our Michael Wittman outlined in his article about Bellinger last week, the Dodgers were hesitant to having Bellinger on the roster to start the season because the team would lose a year of control for the highly touted prospect.
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22 days into the season, the Dodgers have waited long enough for Bellinger’s arrival. Per the MLB policy, 172 service days in the majors equals one year of service, which means one less year of control the team has over the player. Now, being 22 days into the season, Bellinger will not accumulate a year of service, creating a win-win opportunity for both parties.
As mentioned earlier, Bellinger will likely contribute to the team by playing left field and center field, with some occasional first base starts. Although he’s a natural first baseman, Dave Roberts and the Dodgers have been adamant about keeping their veteran first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez’s bat in the lineup, despite his drop off in production.
The newest Dodger will wear number 35 and, at 21-years old, is the youngest Dodger outfielder to make his debut since Matt Kemp in 2006. Bellinger is the number 7th prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.
The move may have come a little sooner than the Dodgers would have liked. But the health of the outfield is likely what forced their hand. With the struggles of Trayce Thompson on his comeback from back surgery, Bellinger was the best option to fill the void with an injury-plagued outfield.
Bellinger is their best minor-league hitter who has a lot of versatility. He did struggle to find consistency this spring only hitting .207 with 20 strikeouts, but he did display his power ability with two moonshots.
What would be interesting to see is how Bellinger’s left-handed splits translate in the majors. Last season, between Double-A and Triple-A, Bellinger hit .284 with eight home runs against lefties.
During his first exposure to the big leagues, Bellinger won’t be asked to do a lot for the team. With bats like Corey Seager and Justin Turner in the heart of the order, Bellinger could find himself in the lower half of the lineup, where he may see more fastballs. Bellinger doesn’t have to carry the offense, just have a productive bat to help manufacture runs.
Next: Dodgers Top 10 Prospects
Needless to say, the Dodgers offense needed a spark, and now it looks like reinforcements are on the way. With Julio Urias slated to start the getaway game on Thursday afternoon against the Giants, the Dodgers seem to be putting all of their chips in play early in the season.
Check back with us next week as our team breaks down his first week in the big leagues.