Dodgers 2018 Position by Position Breakdown: First Base
By Hector Ponce
The 2018 season is quickly approaching, and it is about time to give a positional preview for this loaded team. This article will cover the position of first base.
This season is very similar to last season in the sense that the first baseman is not at all in question. The only difference is instead of the wily veteran Adrian Gonzalez manning 1B we have a youngster in Cody Bellinger.
Cody is fresh off his Rookie of the Year campaign and is hoping to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. Since his swing was exposed on the biggest stage of the year last season, he will come into 2018 with plenty left to prove. He will be looking to fix that hole in his swing and just grow overall as a player in his second year on the big league roster.
Bellinger had an impressive year in 2017 so the expectations entering 2018 are very high. Cody could have an even better year in 2018 if he can make adjustments this spring. Towards the end of the season, teams were discovering how to pitch to the young first baseman.
He didn’t make adjustments, and it showed. He set a playoff record for strikeouts. Despite this, Bellinger was still able to do damage on mistakes made by the pitchers. If he can make the adjustments necessary, we could be looking at yet another special season from Cody.
Cody is still one of the most dangerous bats in the lineup. His production will be key not only for him but for the rest of the lineup. His success will allow Corey Seager and Justin Turner to do damage because opposing teams know they have to pitch to them since the power force of Cody Bellinger will be looming behind them.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Red Sox trying to steal Dodgers’ blueprint with Chaim Bloom is massive failure
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
Along with his ability to mash baseballs, Cody Bellinger is also one of the best defensive players in the MLB. He is a rare player as he is likely the most athletic player on the team along with Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor even though Bellinger plays first base which is often thought to be a position for slower players with little to no athleticism.
That athleticism is very important to this team. Bellinger will be able to move to the outfield if needed. The Dodgers don’t necessarily have a backup first baseman on the depth chart just a bunch of guys who are able and willing to play first base if necessary.
The majority of reps at first base will go to Bellinger, but some players will get spot starts when Bellinger gets the day off or if an injury occurs.
Like I mentioned earlier Bellinger is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions at a near elite level. This versatility gives the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts lots of flexibility.
For example, on back to back night and day games, if Roberts wants to give to veteran Justin Turner a bit of a break he could play him at first base. Same would apply to another veteran, Logan Forsythe. Both are have shown the ability to play first base.
If Bellinger needs a day off those two players could be an option along with the super utility man Enrique Hernandez who plays anywhere Doc needs him to play.
In the unfortunate event of a Cody Bellinger injury, the Dodgers could go with several different options to fill the huge void that Belly would have left.
The first and least complicated of these options would be just to plug Rob Segedin into that position and let him be the everyday option until Bellinger can return. This keeps everything else regular on the depth chart.
If not Segedin I believe the best solution, if the Dodgers want to keep the best lineup on the field, would be to let Yasmani Grandal take over at first base. Instead of having him platoon with Barnes and letting Segedin get at-bats they could keep both Barnes and Grandal in the lineup. Yaz has played 48 games at first base, so he has proven he is capable of playing that spot.
Or they could use a combination of Turner, Forsythe, and Hernandez. Some combo with two of them playing the corners and one playing second base. Likely Turner at first, Hernandez at second and Forsythe at third.
As I said, the Dodgers don’t have another first baseman on the roster other than Bellinger but have a bunch of players who have the ability to play first base. This is likely what their depth chart looks like.
With a few other players behind them. The Dodgers trading their only other first baseman Adrian Gonzalez shows how much faith they have in Cody Bellinger. They will have to go into scramble mode if he gets injured. However, the options are not as bad as they seem because of the versatility of all the players on this team.
Next: A hidden prospect who could make a difference in 2018
Bellinger is the man here and barring an injury will play 150+ games for this team at first base. He is a special talent and ready to prove that his rookie year was not a fluke.