Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger may have same influence as a Rookie Yasiel Puig

May 6, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Cody Bellinger (35) follows through during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Cody Bellinger (35) follows through during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Four short years ago, Yasiel Puig broke into baseball and took the nation by storm. His rise was unprecedented despite his status as a Dodgers’ top prospect. Fast-forward to 2017, and we now have the young 21-year-old Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger has broken onto the scene for the Dodgers in a very similar way. He has had an amazing few weeks in the majors, and it starts to bring up memories of Yasiel Puig’s 2013 rookie season. Are we jumping the gun a little bit on a guy who has only played 13 games in the majors or could we be having déjà vu?

Coming into the season, Bellinger was one of the Dodgers’ top prospects and was widely regarded as a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. Despite Bellinger’s status as a top prospect, he was not expected to make contributions to the team until later in the year as Adrian Gonzalez blocked him at first base. But, after Dodgers started hitting the disabled list left and right, there was no better option than to give Cody Bellinger a taste of Major League Baseball.

Bellinger had a rather pedestrian spring training but gave us a glimpse of his power with a loud home run off of Brewers’ prospect Andrew Barbosa. As expected, Bellinger was sent down halfway through spring training and looked ridiculous in Oklahoma City. Bellinger was lighting up AAA in his short time there and forced the Dodgers to give him a chance in Los Angeles. In 18 games with the OKC Dodgers, Bellinger had a .343/.429/.627 slash line and homered five times. On April 25th he was called up to the majors and put his star on the map.

In 2013, Yasiel Puig also forced the Dodgers’ hand as he was tearing up AA when the Dodgers called him up on June 2nd.  At the time of his call-up, Puig had a slash line of .313/.383./.599 and eight home runs in 40 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

According to Baseball America, Puig was the 47th ranked prospect coming into 2013 and sat in front of names like Addison Russell (48), Nolan Arenado (52), and Noah Syndergaard (54). Although Puig wasn’t ranked as an ultra high-end prospect, a lot of pressure was on him to live up to the seven-year $42 million contract the Dodgers signed him to in 2012.

Obviously, the two were highly deserving of call-ups as they were too talented for the minors. They proceeded to have some pretty fun first few weeks in the majors.

In Puig’s first week in the major leagues, all he did was go a ridiculous 13-for-28 with four homers (one grand slam), 10 RBI, and showed the world it’s not a good idea to test his arm. To add a cherry on top, he won NL Player of the Week honors. Puig exploded onto the scene in LA in a big way, and soon became a mini-legend for Dodger nation. No one could have ever imagined the impact Puig would have on that team.

Bellinger, on the other hand, “only” went 6-for-21 with two home runs and three RBI in his first week, and gave us a little taste of what was to come. In his second week with the big league club, Bellinger went 10-for-29 with three home runs (one grand slam), and 13 RBI and took home NL Player of the Week honors. Yeah, it may have taken an extra week to have Puig-esque numbers, but it was well worth the wait.

Dodgers’ fans probably vividly remember the first week of Yasiel Puig’s career and just how much fun it was. Bellinger’s second week in The Show was just as fun. They each hit a grand slam, had a multi-home run game, and took home NL Player of the Week honors. If you were wondering where the inspiration for this article came from, look no further.

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Now, we obviously can’t see too far ahead into the future as Bellinger has only played in 13 games, but Puig gave us somewhat of a table to look at. Puig owned the majors in his first year, and it showed in his .925 OPS. Obviously, it will be very hard for Bellinger to reach that OPS, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to think he can end up at around .875.

With Andrew Toles out for the season with a torn ACL, it has all but assured Bellinger will be up for the rest of the season. Bellinger may be a natural first baseman, but he can more than hold his own in the outfield. With that being said, he now has the chance to build off his hot start and make an impact with the team for the rest of this season.

Next: An Outfielder Must Be Moved

Cody Bellinger has given us an idea of what we can expect from him in LA for years to come and why he was so untouchable in trade discussions. If you are wondering what his rookie season might look like at the end of the year, using Puig’s 2013 campaign could give you an idea of what’s to come.