Anthony Rizzo vs. Cody Bellinger
Anthony Rizzo (5 games): .200/.238/.400 (4-20), 1 Home Run, 6 RBI
Cody Bellinger (4 games): .214/.267/.429 (3-14), 1 Home Run, 2 RBI
Boy was this position a lot easier when the Dodgers had Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Now we’re choosing between two of the best first baseman in the game.
Both Anthony Rizzo and Cody Bellinger didn’t hit much for average in the first round. They each ended up with a homer and were held to a low .200 batting average. But don’t let those numbers fool you when these two can mash.
Bellinger was decent in his first playoff series. I thought he rose to the occasion reasonably well for being a rookie. We didn’t see him completely crush home runs, but we also didn’t see him set an MLB record in strikeouts like fellow ROY Aaron Judge. I expect Bellinger to rise to the occasion under the postseason lights, and he did in game 3. Bellinger had his best game of the postseason defensively and offensively when the Dodgers needed offense most. I’m interested to see how he carries that over to the next series. He’s an all-around player and anchors the Dodgers’ top of the lineup; timely hitting is more important than a high average for Cody.
Rizzo is the youngest “veteran” on this team at 28-years old. He didn’t come up with many hits in the NLDS, but when he did it was with runners in scoring position. Rizzo went 4-5 with 5 RBI in situational hitting. When runners weren’t in scoring position, he was on the complete opposite side of the spectrum going 0-15 with 6 strikeouts.
As much as it pains me not to pick Cody on this one, I have to go with the veteran who has been in this spot before. Rizzo is without a doubt the leader of this team, and he proves it by hitting in the clutch. Bellinger is still growing into his leadership role, and for now, that’s okay. For this season I have to take the guy with 117 postseason at-bats over the rookie with 14.