Dodgers: Projecting the Dodger Lineup After the First Flurry of Moves
4. Cody Bellinger, First Base
The rookie set the baseball community on fire with his record-breaking year last season. For Bellinger, the power is undeniable. Bellinger was among the league’s best in the average home run distance (394 ft) and average exit velocity (89.6 mph). Now Bellinger gets his first full offseason to work with after his first taste of big league pitching.
Bellinger is the prototype of what today’s game is influencing hitters to become. Strikeouts don’t matter as much as long as you can hit the ball over the fence. That’s Bellinger’s style. While the 39 home runs were fantastic for driving in runs in bunches for Roberts, his 26% strikeout percentage was frustrating at times.
Bellinger led the team in strikeouts, but also led the team in home runs, RBI (97), slugging percentage (.581), and total bases (279). He was second on the team in OPS (.933) behind Turner, which indicates that he’s drawing his share of walks.
I’m very interested to see how Bellinger responds after an eye-opening rookie season. He now has 548 big league plate appearances under his belt, which gives pitchers plenty of at-bats to change the scouting report. If they attack Bellinger as the Astros did in the World Series, I hope Bellinger makes adjustments to hit the inside breaking ball.
Bellinger is the biggest power threat in the Dodgers lineup. For the greater part of last season, his average was hovering around .280. If Bellinger could come close to replicating his rookie season, the Dodgers would have one of the game’s best cleanup hitter, despite the strikeouts.