Cody Bellinger continues to impress with monster numbers. With all these bombs, fans everywhere are calling for him to be the fourth consecutive Dodger to compete in the Home Run Derby. But will participating harm his progress and swing?
Cody Bellinger continues to pound home runs. He now leads the National League with 22 jacks despite missing the first couple of weeks of the season. He’s putting up jaw-dropping numbers for any rookie. He is currently only chasing fellow rookie Aaron Judge in home-runs who currently has 24 but has done so in 14 more games than Cody.
Not only is Cody putting unreal numbers up, but he tends to do so in big moments, hitting 11 of his 22 home runs in the 7th inning or later. He seems to be unfazed by the fans and looks like he welcomes the pressure situations. It has come to a point now where fans expect a home run from him when the game is close in a late inning game.
With Belly sending balls over the fence seemingly every time he makes contact, of course, fans everywhere want to see him participate in the HR Derby. What makes this storyline even more intriguing for fans is the revival of a rivalry that has died out in recent history. The Dodgers-Yankees rivalry, East Coast vs. West Coast, Big money vs. Big money, and now Stud rookie vs. Stud rookie.
Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge are two rising stars in the two biggest and most storied franchises in history. The thought of seeing these two go head to head in a home-run battle is mouthwatering. There is no doubt that seeing Bellinger in the derby would be good entertainment but do we; Dodger fans, really want to see him in the competition?
Nobody really knows if this showcase of power does affect the players swing. But in many studies done, players who participate in the derby see their number drop. As these studies also point out, the decline in numbers may just be due to fatigue as the season goes on, just like any other non-participant would experience.
Another factor is participants in the Derby are selected based on their first half stats. And for many of the participants that are new to this event, the stats they put up in the first half may or may not be the type of player they have been or will be throughout the career. In a simpler way of saying this is, maybe the player just got lucky with great first half numbers, and it wasn’t the derby that messed up their swing.
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Nonetheless, Dodger fans have become very familiar with both sides of the story. Seeing Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager all compete in the derby from 2014-2016. These three players all had their own different experiences with the competition.
Yasiel Puig “competed” in the event in 2014. Compete is a relative term in this situation as Puig hit the same amount of home runs as I did in that Derby, 0. Before his God awful all-star week performance, Puig was hitting .309 with 12 home runs in 90 games. After the all-star break, he hit .274 with just four home runs, but this was just in 58 games. So for Puig, his power numbers did decrease as his slugging % dropped from .522 to .414.
Now let’s move on to a much better HR Derby showing. Joc Pederson in 2015 participated during his rookie campaign. He fared much better than Puig, but that also came with a price. Pre all-star break Joc had 20 bombs with a .230 AVG and .487 SLG. But afterwards, he saw his AVG drop to .178 and SLG .300. With only six long balls. Joc might have performed well in the Derby, but he seemed to be affected by this and saw a steep drop off.
Corey Seager was in last season’s HR Derby, and despite doing well, he still got bounced in the first round of the competition. Seager’s first half was great, but after he participated in the derby, he somehow got better, increasing his AVG and OBP despite having slightly lower power numbers. So his stats showed that he didn’t get lost in the sauce of the derby. He didn’t change his swing to try and hit for more power, in fact, it seemed like he did the opposite.
Now of all these participants, it feels like Cody would be the most exciting to watch in the dinger derby. His pure power and big swing look like it would play really well in this competition. It would be exciting to see him but will we see the same post all-star, Cody, that we saw beforehand. Will we see little to no difference like Puig, or maybe a big drop off like Joc, but hopefully we see great adjustments like Seager.
All in all, it ultimately depends on the type of player Belly is. For me personally, I think he is a combination of the past two competitors. Joc and Corey put them together and you get a superhuman named Cody Bellinger. I think he should participate and I truly believe that it would not hurt his swing because he is the type of player to make adjustments like Corey did following the derby.